school board

By Bob Balgemann


POPLAR GROVE – The North Boone Community Unit School District 200 Board of Education has come within one member of being completely changed over the past two years.

Matt Ellingson, Tom Moon and Brian Reininger were elected two years ago, when incumbents Glen Gratz, Tom Kinser and Laura Zwart chose not to run again.

Fast-forward to April 7, 2015, and another election. That one resulted in newcomers Joe Haverly, Mary Maxey and Ed Mulholland being elected to four-year terms. Incumbents Denise Balsley and Amy Morse didn’t run again, while the third incumbent, Collin Crull, lost his bid for re-election.

In the final analysis, longtime board president Don Ward was the only incumbent left. And when it came to the board being reorganized Monday night (May 4), he was not returned as president.

Moon nominated Ellingson to lead the board and there were no other nominations. The vote for Ellingson was unanimous, 7-0.

By a 6-1 vote, with Ward dissenting, the board elected Haverly as vice chairman. Moon was chosen as secretary, 7-0, while election of a treasurer was delayed until the next meeting.

The reorganized board took action on a number of agenda items.

One of the first was to change the meeting day from the fourth Monday of the month to the fourth Tuesday. It was suggested by Ward, partly in the hope that less conflict with so many other meetings would lead to more coverage of the district by the local newspaper.

That won’t happen until June. And a special meeting already has been called for June 1.

Lunches, student fees

The board also approved lunch prices for the 2015-16 school year. But members rejected the student fee schedule in a 4-3 vote.

Superintendent Steven Baule pointed out the charges were the same as in the current school year. If board members had a problem with the technology fee, he said they could approve the amounts with the exception of that one.

But Mulholland said he wanted more information, such as what percentage of students actually pay those fees, the total amount of fees collected from students, where that money goes and the percentage of students who receive free and reduced lunches.

“About 50 percent pay the fees,” Baule responded.

After-school care also drew discussion, now that Poplar Grove United Methodist Church no longer is providing that service.

As the district looks at options, Haverly said he’d like to know the objectives and goals of the program, who the district plans to serve and the total cost.

Baule replied that it would be cost prohibitive for the district to run such a program. “It would be nice to have a decision before the end of the school year, so we can get the information to parents,” he said.

Still, Haverly said he would “like to see something so the board is more familiar with what we’re voting on. Are there any examples of former programs?”

Not that the district ran, not to his knowledge, Baule answered. The program was offered by the Poplar Grove church for the past 15 years. He added he would put some information together in the next few days.

The board also tabled action on security improvements at various school buildings in the district.

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