By Chris Fox

For The Elmhurst Independent

 

The Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board held a meeting on May 22 at the District 205 Center, 162 S. York St. Commissioner Shannon Ebner was absent from the meeting.

 

Churchville Coderz team recognized

The board recognized the Churchville Middle School Coderz team, which competed nationally against other students in grades 6-8 in Code Rush, a national coding championship hosted by Code Monkey, Inc. From January to March, the 17-member Churchville team began the competition by taking part in a series of weekly challenges. The team completed all of the challenges without error.

York students given accolades for DECA Conference

The board also recognized York High School students Matt Anderson and Jason Kentra, who competed as a team in the Financial Team Decision Making event at the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in April. The two students qualified for the event with their strong performances in regional and state competitions. DECA’s mission is to enhance the co-curricular education of students with interests in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

Gemkow honored for Music Education Innovator Award

Additionally, the board recognized York music teacher Chris Gemkow, who was awarded one of five nationwide Music Education Innovator Awards. The Give a Note Foundation, in partnership with the Country Music Association, presented the award, which includes a $4,500 grant to create lasting change in the honoree’s school district. Gemkow was honored at the Country Music Association (CMA) Teachers of Excellence event in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 8.

Farewell bid to Melea Smith

The board also recognized Melea Smith, the district’s executive director of communications. Smith, who has been with the district since 2010, is retiring at the end of June.

Non-union salaries for employees approved

The board voted unanimously to approve the 2018-19 non-union salaries for district employees. The salaries reflect a standard Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) consistent with the consumer price increase of 2.1 percent. The employees covered in the increase include the superintendent, all administrators, all district office support staff, all non-union support staff and all food-service employees. A few of the included employees will receive additional payments for longevity increases, retirement track increases and achievement of certification.

Discussion over transportation services held

The board voted to table a recommendation to approve the extension of the contract for regular transportation services with First Student, Inc., with a 2.5 percent increase in route and field trip rates for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. The 2.5 percent increase would take place in each of the two school years. Board member John McDonough asked if the board should approve something without a better demonstration of competitive procurement. The board also voted to table a recommendation to approve a one-year extension of the district’s contract with Cottage Hill Operating Company for special education transportation, reflecting a 2.5 percent increase for the 2018-19 school year.

Board president Kara Caforio asked if the district risked losing the contract with First Student, Inc., if it waited until June to approve the contract. District superintendent David Moyer said near the end of the meeting that if the board were to wait until June it would probably not jeopardize the contract. Board member Jim Collins noted during the discussion that the district’s previous provider gave less than stellar service. He said First Student, Inc. has provided excellent service. Collins asked if the district was putting its taxpayers at risk by not approving the transportation contract during the current meeting.

Board approves website services contract

The board voted to approve a website services contract with Finalsite in an amount of $34,500 annually and with a one-time setup cost of $35,000. According to the district, its current website was award-winning nine years ago, but today it looks dated and struggles to keep pace with current demands. Additionally, the district and other districts across the nation need to redesign their websites to keep compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.

District staff recommended Finalsite after concluding a competitive bid process. The contract takes effect July 1, 2018. The district’s current website vendor has agreed to service the current website until September of this year.

Foundation donation accepted for Bryan library

Board members voted unanimously to accept a $5,000 donation from the Aidan Shea Foundation to the library at Bryan Middle School. The foundation honors the memory of Aidan Shea, a former District 205 student whose twin brother is currently a sixth-grader at Bryan Middle School.

Jefferson PTA donation supports STEM instruction

The board also voted to accept an $18,000 donation from the Jefferson School PTA, which will provide each of that school’s classrooms with a classroom library. Additionally, the Jefferson Elementary School PTA has offered to donate up to $9,500 to purchase items that will support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities. The board also voted to accept a $3,000 donation from the Sandburg Middle School PTA. The donation will be used to purchase furniture for that school’s library.

Sponsorship approved for Fine Arts Week, York Album Project

The board also voted to approve a five-year sponsorship from Mr. and Mrs. John and Anne Buckley in the amount of $1,000 per year, for a total of $5,000. The donation honors the musical accomplishments of their daughter, Madeline Buckley, who is a York student. The donation will be used for the Fine Arts Week and York Album Project Program.

The board will hold its next regular meeting on June 19.

 

 

 

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