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By MATT DANIELS
Rantoul Press assistant editor
The Rantoul Township High School school district is owed more than $300,000 in mandated categorical payments ($309,734 to be exact) from the state, RTHS
Superintendent Scott Amerio informed the school board, and the district’s major operating funds are still tracking under budget.
“That’s good,” Amerio said at the board’s Jan. 14 meeting. “That’s right where we want it to be.”
The district received $46,851 from the 1 percent county sales tax increase. At the start of every year, the county determines how much money each school district will receive from the sales tax money based on a district’s enrollment and what percentage of their students factor into all the students of Champaign County. This year,
RTHS students make up 3.0861 percent of all Champaign County students, slightly below last year’s 3.1124 percent, but Amerio doesn’t expect any less revenue coming into the district.
“Because we’re seeing a slight upward trend in the economy, there’s more money coming into that revenue stream,” he said. “We actually saw more money this month than we did at the same time last year. The bottom line is I don’t expect any major changes to that.”
Action items: The board unanimously approved a bid of $214,250 from Commercial Builders, Inc., Champaign, to construct a new elevator in the east wing. The board added a stipulation to the item requesting that Otis Elevator Companies is not used in the construction. Deem said she did not think the company handles service work well and “they’re very delayed in their completion of their projects,” she added.
Initial estimates had the cost of the east wing elevator project much higher.
“The reason they’re lower is there’s some things that were built into that original estimate that we don’t have to do,” Amerio said. “There was something with the cab that they thought it was going to be more expensive, and they were able to do it so it wasn’t as expensive.”
The board approved a bid of $69,870 from Midwest Transit for bus replacements and bid specifications for the removal and installation of ceiling and floor tile on the south end of the east wing building.
The board also appointed Amerio to prepare the tentative budget for the next fiscal year and continued an agreement that allows RTHS employees to get a membership at Forum Fitness Center for a discounted rate. The move costs the district $500.
Lumber donation: The district received 4,000 board feet of furniture grade maple lumber donated by E.L. Murphee. Murphee is a retired University of Illinois professor who now lives in Oakton, Va.
The lumber has an estimated value of $23,200.
Board member Marla Deem asked if Murphee had any known connections to RTHS or Rantoul, and that was the reason he decided to donate the lumber. Amerio said he did not.
“We did send a thank you to him for recognition of that (donation),” Amerio said. “I will say this, we are one of the few schools who have a strong industrial (technology) program. There’s not a whole lot of other schools that do stuff with the trades.”
Board policies read: The board heard the first reading of several board policies in an effort by Amerio to update the board’s policies. Two of the policies will focus on the prohibition of workplace harassment and the prohibition of student harassment.
“One of the issues we’re finding with our current board policy in a situation where it’s something about harassment, our old policy lumped teachers and students together,” Amerio said. “In our new policy manual, we’re going to separate those out because you do deal with those a little differently.”
The other policies that went through a first reading dealt with ensuring RTHS is a drug- and alcohol-free workplace, leaves of absences and teaching about controversial issues.
Personnel report: The board approved 6-0, with board member Merle Wilson abstaining, the hiring of Allen Jones Sr. as the school’s interim athletic director and Milton Rivera-Cuevas as a maintenance worker. The board also appointed several assistant coaches for spring sports, along with Margie Ashcraft as the co-sponsor of the school’s National Honor Society and Travis Flesner as the coordinator of the Eagle Mentoring Program.
The board appointed Joe Gradney as an assistant varsity baseball coach, Jones as a volunteer assistant varsity baseball coach, Ken Ross as an assistant baseball coach who will coach the junior varsity team and Dayton Hollern as an assistant baseball coach who will coach the freshman team. The board appointed Rich Thomas and Olivia Grob as assistant softball coaches, with Elizabeth Piatt appointed as a volunteer assistant softball coach.
The board appointed A.J. Richard and Mitch Wilson as assistant boys track and field coaches and appointed Minore Johnson and Kathy Jones as volunteer assistant boys track and field coaches.