RCS board narrowly defeats board packet proposal

The RCS school board at Thursday night's board meeting voted against a proposal to put the board packet online prior to meetings.

RANTOUL — Members of the Rantoul City Schools board on Thursday narrowly defeated (4-3) a proposal to post the board packet online prior to meetings of the board.

The board packet serves as an outline for the meeting and provides relevant data for the topics to be discussed.

Board members who voted against were board  President Bill Sweat, Vice President Saundra Uhlott, Secretary John Brotherton and member Mark Keys.

Members in favor were Andy Graham, Kevin McCallister and Joe Robinson.

Prior to the vote, residents Jack Anderson and Wendell Golston spoke in favor of posting the board packet online in the public forum portion of the meeting.

In the board discussion portion prior to the vote board, Graham said the board needs to be transparent, and posting the packet online would be a step in that direction.

Brotherton spoke against the board packet being online, raising concerns that doing so would release information of fired or resigning employees of the district to the public.

Said Sweat: “If the board packet is so important, then you would think that on a regular monthly basis somebody would be approaching the board asking to do this.

“So apparently, I guess, my own personal opinion, we only need transparency when there’s a minority as president of the school board,” Sweat said.

After the board meeting Anderson said he found Sweat’s comments “very disturbing and unbecoming as the president of our school board.”

“What kind of example is being set for our children? Can we expect him to repeatedly claim racist motivations of those who disagree with him in the future?”

Anderson made his displeasure with the comment from Sweat clear.

“Mr. Sweat should do the right thing and resign from the school board,” Anderson said.

Golston took offense to Sweat’s comment, saying, “I feel that as a human being, what he said was inflamed, insensitive and inappropriate. I was offended, and that comment should not have been made at that board meeting.”

Sweat did not respond to Rantoul Press attempts for comment.

In other business, Ashley Bryan gave a presentation to the board about the Rantoul Township High School STEP program and the partnership with RCS.

The program allows special education students from RTHS who already have the credits to graduate to work for RCS. Two students currently work at Eater in the cafeteria on weekday mornings.

Brian Loman of Loman Ray Insurance Group provided an update on the status of Illinois Educators Risk Management Program, which is the district’s self-funded health insurance program.

In the public forum portion of the meeting, Minore Johnson voiced concerns over students needing computers to receive good test scores.

Johnson also told of his concerns for incidents that involved his daughter at J.W. Eater Junior High School.

RCS finance manager Kendra Good presented the board with a three-year budget projection.

The board will meet next at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19.

rbirch@rantoulpress.com