FISHER — The Fisher school board set a truth-in-taxation hearing for its 2019 tax levy for 6:20 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, just prior to the next regular meeting of the board in the grade school library.
Superintendent Barb Thompson said the district will seek a 15 percent increase “balloon” levy to capture all available tax money but as a tax-capped entity in Champaign County will be limited to just a 1.9 percent increase over last year’s levy to match the consumer price index.
So the levy will amount to about $4 million as taxpayers pay a rate of 4.66 per $100 of assessed property value. Last year’s levy was $3.87 million, and the rate was 4.76.
Thompson said the district’s architect did a final walk-through of the high school health life safety project and checked that all work was completed.
The board authorized a final payment of $47,513 to contractor Adkisson of Tuscola.
Thompson gave a short overview of state testing results in the district. She said she would like to see overall improvement in reading and math scores but that science scores are above the state average.
The district received an overall grade of “commendable” — Thompson noting that only 10 percent of the state’s schools will receive the “exemplary” designation.
Senior/junior high Principal Jon Kelly said good things must be going on in the lower grades instruction-wise because the juniors’ SAT scores and the freshmen’s and sophomores’ PSAT scores are all above the state average.
All state schools must create an improvement plan, and Kelly said his school’s plan touches several areas. Those include training students in the ALICE active shooter drills and lowering the chronic absentee rate.
Kelly wants all students to participate in a school climate survey.
Teachers will continue to work in professional learning communities, and the Fast Fridays program will be ongoing as an attendance incentive.
Kelly and his staff are looking to add Advanced Placement classes, one each in Spanish and chemistry by school year 21-22.
Next year’s grade school principal, Jake Palmer, outlined that school’s improvement plan, speaking for absent Principal Jim Moxley. Palmer said the staff will continue attendance incentives and be trained in using the new social studies textbooks.
A committee will study new math curriculums for grades 4-6. The current program, Accelerated Math, will no longer be supported by its publisher. And teachers will implement methods to improve reading and language arts scores.
The board also:
— Approved the resignation of third-grade teacher Amber Sievers as of Nov. 7.
— Approved Cody Diskin, who is currently high school physical education and drivers education teacher and head varsity basketball coach as K-12 dean of students and high school athletic director beginning next school year. Thompson said Diskin has been with the district for 11 years, starting as the K-6 p.e. teacher. “He has a great rapport with students and staff, and will be a wonderful liaison for Fisher in the HOIC,” said Thompson.
— Approved Milt Kelly as head boys baseball coach.
— Learned there are currently no junior high girls volleyball coaches for the season set to begin soon.
— Gave permission to four students to graduate early at semester’s end.
— Learned that upcoming Christmas performance dates include the high school concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, in the high school cafeteria; the fifth- through eighth-grade concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12; and the K-4 concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17.