School board received reports on state bills and district finances

By Melanie Williamson

The Vermilion Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Monday, April 9. The meeting opened with the citizens of the month from Vermilion Elementary School being introduced. While not all of the students being recognized were at the meeting, this month’s citizens were Lexi Adams, Blake Furnish, Katie Hush, Sophia Pulley, Bronson Siesel, Maya Carrion, Elijah Drost, Kamryn Jenkins, Soraya Ramos, Mariana Truax, Jason Carter, Addison Hamman, Kola Johnson, Khloe Rivera, Brady Wolkov, Alyssa Clark, Preston Haley, Emily Pisano, Austin Sergent, and Nolan Young.

Student liaison update: Four members of the VHS speech and debate team were at the meeting to present to the board what they have been accomplishing this year so far. All four members, Nikki Peter, David Dotson, Kennedy Hughes, and Kylie Gwynn have qualified for the national tournament and will be traveling to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in June to compete. Nina LeBlanc was not present for the meeting due to a class trip, but also qualified for nationals. Hughes will be competing in World Schools Team along with Peter. Dotson will be competing in big questions for the second year in a row at nationals, and Gwen will be competing in Congressional debate. Gwynn finished 6th in this category at the state level.

Each member of the debate team thanked the board and administration for their ongoing support and shared that being a part of the speech and debate team has shaped their high school experience and has influenced their college and career decisions going forward.

Legislative update: Board member Sara Stepp shared that there are four bills that are currently being looked at the state level that she is watching as they may impact the Vermilion district if passed. The bills include revising the teacher evaluation framework, starting the school year after Labor Day, changing the required immunization schedule, and allowing for expulsion if the health and safety of other students are at risk.

LEED Certification: Robb Blatchford from Lesko Associates was present to present the district with a plaque stating the LEED silver certification that has been awarded to the elementary school building. The school is being recognized for its 21st century design, as well as being energy efficient and environmentally sound.

Treasurer report: Justin Klingshirn, the new district treasurer presented his first monthly financial report to the school board. After going over several accounts and providing updates on the health of those accounts, he stated that he believes the district will end the year above the breakeven point, which is always a positive.

The board voted to approve a payment to Timothy Gentry for filming girls’ basketball games for the 2017-2018 season. While they did approve the payment, board member Shelly Innes asked why this was coming to the board for approval after the fact and where was the money coming from. Klingshirn stated that it was not coming out of the athletic fund, but rather out of the athletic fees. The board has been working to stop items from coming to them for approval after they have already happened. Board president Chris Habermehl  stated that from now on if something is coming to the board for approval after the fact, the head of the whatever department it is coming from has to come to the meeting and explain why it was not approved before if they want to the board to approve it.

Future meeting date: The regular monthly board meeting for May has been moved to Monday, May 21. It will still be at 7 p.m. at the high school, and the public is welcome to attend.

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