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Hermes: 'Local taxes are keeping us afloat'

SVE seats new board

SPRING VALLEY — Newly-elected board members were sworn in during Wednesday night’s meeting of the Spring Valley Elementary School Board.  

Taking the oath of office was new board member Lindsay Ferrari and returning board members Ray Nolasco, Jim Faletti and Ted Urbanski.

Superintendent Jim Hermes presented outgoing member Tom Vallero with a clock in appreciation of his 12 combined years as a school board member for the district. Vallero served from 1979-87 and again from 2013-17.

The board held an election of officers: Ray Nolasco was elected president, Trisha Harrison, vice president, and Jack Kusek, secretary. Mary Beth Miklavcic was reappointed recording secretary, and Lucy Frasco was reappointed as treasurer.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the Fiscal Year 2017 amended budget. Hermes explained the reason the budget was amended was due to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy Grant that was received in the amount of $192,000.

Hermes updated the board on the current budget. He said 71 percent of general state aid has been received to date. Some early childhood education money was received last month, but only 25 percent of the expected special education funding has been received.

“Local taxes are keeping us afloat. It’s not a good picture for special education and those categorical grants,” Hermes said.

In other discussions, Hermes feels it is time to change the school’s address to reflect the correct main entrance. Hermes understands there will be an extreme amount of paperwork to complete the changes and will look into the steps needed to make the change. He said a recent incident where an ambulance came to the wrong door, adding more time to the response, amplified the need for the update.  

The board also learned some damage has been done to electrical items in the school due to power surges. Claims are being turned into insurance, but it will take time to figure out if anything else was affected. Ameren was contacted and installed a device to monitor the power coming into the school. Ameren recently did some work outside of the school, and since then, there have not been any power surges.

Regarding the district's sports programs, the board discussed the addition of baseball and softball, but decided it was not needed at this time. Some of the reasons for not adding these sports included the additional costs; softball would be at the same time as girls' basketball;and the fact Spring Valley has strong youth programs the students can participate in.

Adding sixth-grade volleyball was also discussed. Hermes said it would be good to begin the fundamentals a year sooner. The subject will be brought up again after getting more information, including the costs associated.

In other business:

• Curriculum Director Michelle Nauman updated the board on universal screeners and textbook adoption. The district will continue to use Aimsweb as the universal screener for the district. Students are tested three times a year. Nauman said he committee chose Aimsweb because it was used in the past; it is Common Core aligned; and has good reports. Cost will be $6.50 a student. The total cost will be approximately $3,770.

Nauman also said the district will be receiving a grant for $6,600 each year for three years to be used to purchase a STEM curriculum and the supplies needed.

• Changes to the student handbook were discussed and will be voted on next month. Discussed were dress codes, head lice, library fees, make up work and the arrival time for students.

• The fifth-grade Extension program finishes next week with a field trip to St. Margaret’s Hospital and the YMCA.

• PARCC testing was completed before spring break, and testing materials have been turned in.

• The board approved the changes to the kindergarten and first grade report cards.

• The resolution to abate taxes Imposed within the Bureau Putnam Enterprise Zone was approved.

• Graduation will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 26.

The next meeting of the board is set for 7 p.m. May 17 at JFK's Lincoln Library.

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