FISHER — There was mutual admiration as Fisher Grade School Principal Jim Moxley attended his final school board meeting as he retires this month.
Moxley read a statement to the board and Superintendent Barb Thompson. He thanked the board for its support of him during his 20 years as principal and said he always felt appreciated. He said he’s worked with good administrators all along but that his 15 years with Thompson showed what a terrific boss she is.
Moxley said he’s always heard that a principal’s single most important job was to hire good teachers, and he said he’s done that. Moxley said he came on with a good staff in place and just four are left from his first year. But he says the grade school has an awesome staff going forward under new Principal Jake Palmer.
In turn Thompson thanked Moxley for his consistent, fair and exemplary dedication as principal.
“He is a role model, a stand-up, solid guy. I can’t thank you enough,” Thompson said.
Though retiring from public school, Moxley is not through with the principal gig. Later this summer he will take over as Judah Christian Junior/Senior High principal.
Free tuition to employees’ children
The board also held a public hearing and then voted to offer free student tuition to employees’ children. What the board is doing is asking for a five-year waiver from the state to do so, and the legislature must approve Fisher’s request, but Thompson is not sure when it will meet next.
The free tuition might make it easier for Fisher schools to attract and keep teachers. The offer would be good for all current and future employees. Thompson said many of the current staff commute, and having their children in the district with them might appeal to them. Also, with the possibility of staggered attendance in state schools this next year, that might be beneficial because of that as well. The waiver would last for five years.
Also after holding a public hearing on the current year’s amended budget, the board approved that, too. Thompson said the district spent $170,000 less than anticipated and took in $71,000 more than expected.
Some of the savings was realized in using a couple of long-term substitutes for vacant positions, paying for no subs since mid-March, not needing to spend money on spring athletic travel and for officials and not having any spring field trips.
Also the board:
—heard from Moxley that school cleaning and painting is so ahead of schedule due to starting early that the workers might turn to working on some outside projects. He said kindergarten readiness testing is still on hold but that summer library hours for grade schoolers are being funded by the parent organization.
— heard from Junior/Senior High Principal Jon Kelly that six students are taking summer credit recovery courses at the high school, that students with incompletes can finish their requirements into the fall, that driver’s education classroom instruction will be held July 6-10 and that individual band lessons will begin July 13.
—heard from Thompson that donations of $6,000 from Dewey State Bank will go toward a new Chrome cart, laptop computers, and $10,000 from Fisher National Bank will go toward necessary supplies to comply with state COVID-19 guidance. Funds came from the Federal Home Loan Bank. Also, Gibson Area Hospital donated 10 thermometers.
—heard from Palmer that grades K-5 will switch to the Zearn Math curriculum, which uses no textbooks and students will do all their work digitally.
—heard from Thompson that the grade school will host a breakfast program beginning whenever school starts, and this summer that the Champaign-Urbana Health Department is bringing meals to Fisher for school-age children each day