District 27 board president Stephen Rohrer told those in attendance
that he and board member Robert Kidd attended a meeting with the
city council on Tuesday night and discussed the crossing guard
issue. Rohrer referred to the mood of the meeting as "thorny."
"I just have to say this," Rohrer said. "They stated we had an
agreement and broke it. That is not true. We did not have an
Rohrer went on to say that some of the city council members kept
"hammering" the school board and district about the crossing guard
issue, and he didn't take it personally, but he felt it went beyond
what was necessary to get their point across.
The two board representatives asked Mayor Keith Snyder for a
proposal to maintain the crossing guard program, and the mayor
delivered a proposal to the district office on Wednesday. The school
board meeting agenda was amended to make room for discussion of the
crossing guard issue.
Rohrer read some of the points in the agreement, including the
statement that crossing guards will be employees of the city, and
the district and the city will share administrative duties. In
addition, the school district is required to pay the city $7,000 to
cover the cost of the crossing guards through the remainder of the
2011-2012 school year. The agreement is for one year.
Superintendent Mary Ahillen thanked Rohrer and Kidd for attending
the city council meeting and for speaking for the school district.
She was out of town and unable to attend.
"We want the children to be safe, and the proposed agreement
addresses the issues," Dr. Ahillen said. "This is a workable
solution." She said the city does not want police called if a
crossing guard is not available for an assigned location. And staff
cannot replace them and perform duties outside their job description
and assigned responsibilities. Administrators would be required to
"I'll go out there if I need to," she said, "because if it is a
high-risk location, you can't let the children take care of
themselves." She reminded the board the city had controlled the
crossing guard program since 1974.
Kidd told the board he believes there needs to be an ad hoc
committee with representatives from District 27 and the city council
to rethink the number of crossing guards and where they need to be
stationed. "But you need players at the table who are going to play
nice," he said.
A new traffic control light at the corner of Fifth Street and
College makes it easier to cross that intersection; and the light at
Woodlawn and College is the same situation, but it is a busier place
with more lanes of traffic.
"We need to look at the high-risk areas and take into
consideration where we need to place the crossing guards," Kidd
said, "instead of locating them at sites where there are only a few
children and a light can create a safe crossing.
"In the summer these kids run across the street and get around
town," he continued. "They know how to cross a street. I don't think
it would be wrong if some of the locations didn't have a crossing
In opening the meeting, Ahillen presented the board with
certificates in honor of School Board Day on Tuesday. District 27
custodians were in attendance to receive acknowledgement for their
dedication to the district, especially during the move from the old
office on Maple Street to the new location at 304 Eighth St. The
district office staff was recognized for volunteering to paint and
clean in order to ready the building for the move and for their
willingness to work extra hours during the move.
Superintendent's report: All the Promethean boards have been
installed and teachers will receive additional training. The current
amount owed to District 27 from the state of Illinois is
$438,010.01. A joint committee will meet with the teachers' union on
[to top of second column]
Zoning officer's report: Will D'Andrea, Logan County zoning
officer and GIS coordinator, presented the district office with a
hard copy of the District 27 map and gave a short presentation on
the digital version he has shared with the district. D'Andrea
created the map by using the tax codes to determine boundaries for
each school's area within the district, and those areas are ready to
be added to each school's website for viewing. By February 2012,
D'Andrea will have the maps ready for public access.
Using the Promethean board for displaying the district map, he
explained the process of using tax codes to find boundaries and
properties attached to districts. He noted an isolated site the same
color as Jefferson School's area.
"That piece hanging out there by itself is Memorial Park,"
D'Andrea pointed out. "We found that it is actually within
Jefferson's taxing district, so it is color-coded to match."
Kent Froebe, Lincoln Junior High School (In Mr. Froebe's absence,
special education director Annie Evers gave his report): The school
year's first "Trojan Pride" party, an incentive program to encourage
good behavior and good grades, was on Oct. 28. The program began in
2007 with 63 percent of the student body participating. The most
recent event included 75 percent of the students. Froebe believes it
is making a difference and reflects on the school's culture for the
students to take pride in themselves and the way they interact.
Also, 64 percent of the junior high students are on the honor
roll, and 50 percent are board scholars. Rohrer asked that those
names be entered into the official board minutes.
Tammy Martin, Northwest and Jefferson: After early dismissal,
teachers shared strategies for reading activities and encouraging
students to improve their reading skills. Martin stressed that she
likes to have teachers mix so they hear new ideas. A group that
attended a recent conference presented lessons from that experience,
in order to take advantage of what was learned and make use of the
Christa Healey, Adams and Central: During the afternoon session,
the teachers discussed the school improvement goals. Teachers are
excited about students' progress in literacy. "Table Talk" is
strategic conversation, with teachers grouped from mixed grade
levels and schools in order to share and create strategies that work
Ginger Yeazle, Washington-Monroe: Yeazle presented her school's
improvement plan for the board in a PowerPoint on the Promethean
board. The school's strength is that it met AYP in reading and math
in both control groups -- white students and economically
disadvantaged. She compared attendance rate, truancy, mobility and
percentage of low-income students between 2007 and 2011. Weaknesses
include a test result gap between economically disadvantaged and
non-disadvantaged students. The school's teachers are discussing
ways to address the gap. Also, math and reading scores dipped in
2011, and discussion is reviewing possible causes for the change.
Yeazle stressed that the staff is focused on trends and not
incidental dips that can occur due to a number of factors.
The board approved: Illinois Public Risk Fund for workers'
compensation insurance; a resolution to abate the school bond tax;
adoption of final board policies; tentative tax levy as presented by
Ahillen; student suspensions as presented in the board packet;
resignation of Rebecca Thoms as special education aide at LJHS
effective Nov. 10; transfer of Mario Bonaparte from evening
custodian at Northwest and Washington-Monroe to evening custodian at
Central; hiring John Skelton as evening custodian at
Washington-Monroe and Northwest; a maternity leave request.
[By MARLA BLAIR]