By Bob Trott
MACHESNEY PARK – Following a lengthy closed session Monday, May 12, the Harlem School Board appointed Matthew Cascio Harlem Middle School Principal and Dyonna Johnson Olson Park Elementary School principal, and approved measures concerning the upcoming addition of new field turf at Clyde F. Peterson Stadium, home of high school football games.
The two new principals replace principals who wanted to return to the classroom, Superintendent Julie Morris said after the meeting.
Cascio moves from the assistant principal position at Rockford Guilford High School to replace John Cusimano at Harlem Middle School.
Johnson replaces Burt Townsend at Olson Park Elementary School. Superintendent Julie Morris said, after the meeting, that the move was made because Cusimano and Townsend wanted to return to the classroom.
Turf Goal Nearly Reached
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand reported the district had raised approximately $620,000, or 90 percent of its goal, for the new turf. He said after the meeting that funding has come from contributions and from allocations of $10,000 to $15,000, typical yearly amounts budgeted for upkeep of the stadium.
Bids approved by the board May 12, for the stadium project, were: $424,990 to Civil Construction, Inc., for high school site preparation, and $411,507 to Field Turf USA, Inc. for the new surface. The board recognized Athletic Director Kurt Weigt for being instrumental in the project.
Plans call for the new turf to be installed in time for the first home game of the 2014 season for the Harlem High School varsity football team, against Rockford East. The contest is set for the second week of the season.
Following the closed session and adjournment of the regular meeting, school board members held their annual organizational meeting. Members of the board were elected in 2013, and hold two-year terms, and there were no elections this year.
Norm Alpers and Dennis Harezlak were appointed, at the organizational meeting May 12, officers for due process, expulsion and residence hearings. For each of those three activities, Alpers is the main officer, and Harezlak is the substitute.
In addition, Human Resources Director Dani Hopkins was named Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) agent, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance official and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance official, and Superintendent Morris was named the Employer Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officer.
Appointed district complaint managers were Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Josh Aurand and Human Resources Director Hopkins. Aurand will also serve as appeals officer for free and reduced meals and district activity accounts manager.
Morris, Aurand, Superintendent's Administrative Secretary and School Board Recording Secretary Kris Arduino and Administrative Assistant Mindy Schumacher were named Open Meetings Act (OMA) officials and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officials.
The above appointments and others approved by the board, at the organizational meeting, call for the officers to all remain the same as for the previous year.
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Aurand reported the following recent Harlem School District expenditure totals: payables, $827,302.21; payroll, $2,468,165.31; and total, $3,295,467.52. Payment of those bills was approved by the school board.
Superintendent Morris reported the following personnel moves, which were approved by the board: seven new employments, seven leaves-of-absence, four resignations, 10 transfers within the district, 10 sick leave requests and one new position, a .3 hours-daily Full-time-
Equivalent (FTE) elementary school music teacher to start next year.
Also approved was an addendum of one transfer, from Harlem High School Special Education procedural coach to Harlem High School Special Education diagnostician, effective Aug. 12, 2014; and employment of a district extended school year coordinator, effective May 13 of this year.
Science Olympiad Team
Twelve members of the Harlem Middle School (HMS) Science Olympiad Team, which advanced to state competition, were introduced to the board by HMS Teachers and Team Coaches Denise Pape and Marla Price. This is the ninth time the team has advanced to state competition. The team had a total of 32 members.
Pape described the Olympiad as a marriage of science, technology and research of the science world. She said this year's team earned medals at the Rockford Christian Invitational in January, Regional at Rock Valley College in March and state varsity event at the University of Illinois. This year's team had some new members and some who have competed for longer periods of time, Pape told the board.
Pape described Price as new to the program. Pape credited all parents of team members with their contributions to a lengthy November-April season. "They (all persons involved) are very organized and dedicated to such a large task," Pape added.
IREAD, Golden Apple
Gordon Kaye, Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority (RAVE) and SMG general manager, and his wife, Anne Kaye, United Way Volunteer coordinator, were recognized by Director of Stakeholder Engagement Cathy Martin. Martin said the Kayes' have been instrumental in their volunteer efforts toward the Harlem School IREAD program to help students, and are moving to the Denver, Colo. area to be closer to family members. RAVE is the private firm that operates the BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford Icehogs hockey team, Davis Park and Coronado Theatre. "They definitely will be missed," Martin said about Gordon and Anne.
Also recognized by Martin were Harlem's 2014 Golden Apple Award Winner Carolyn Massier and Golden Apple Finalists Meghan Hembrough, Loves Park Elementary School first grade teacher; Kasie Kosinski, Machesney Elementary fourth grade teacher; and Sarah Shaw, Windsor Elementary fifth grade teacher.
Young at Heart
Harlem High School Senior Liz Shutt was on the agenda for winning the 2014 Young at Heart Button, but she and High School Fine Arts Teacher Barb Kurilla, who was scheduled to introduce Shutt at the meeting, did not attend. Board President Heather Kelley said the introduction will be rescheduled for the next school board meeting.
Brownie Troop 3440
Seven members of Brownie Troop 3440, from Maple Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance at the May 12 session. Maple Principal Becky Girard said the Brownies earned a pin for leading the pledge, and previously were involved in planting a maple tree for Earth Day and releasing butterflies.
Harlem School Board committees will remain the same. The following committees, with committee chairpersons listed first, were approved following the May 12 closed session:
* Policy Committee, 16 members: Heather Kelley, board chairperson; Larry Barger, board member; and George Russell, board member; Superintendent Morris; Superintendent for Curriculum and Instrictuion Barb Browning; Board Recording Secretary and Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Arduino; Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Aurand; Harlem Middle School Associate Principal Dusti Adrian; Leah Krippner; Personnel Director Hopkins; Michelle Erb; Margo Sickele; Heidi Lange; Jeremy Bois and a rotating cycle of elementary principals;
* business services committee, six members: board members Russell, Evelyn Meeks and Travis Turner; Morris, Aurand and Administrative Assistant Schumacher;
* education committee, 13 members: Kelley, Meeks and Turner of the board; Morris; Browning, Administative Assistant to the Supeintendent and Recording Secretary Kris Arduino; Sickele; Erb, Terrell Yarbrough; Chad Dougherty; Harlem Director of Student Support Services Heidi Lange and rotating elementary principals;
* discipline policy review committee, 20 members: board members Pattie Lawrence and Sue Berogan; Morris, Browning, Arduino, Girard, Weigt, Larry Smith, Krippner, Jason Blume, Shari Heller, Sickele, Erb, Brock Morlan, Jerry Harris, Don West, Lange, Beth Williams, Sharon Carlson and Michael Plourde.
* public relations ad hoc, eight members: Kelley, Lawrence, board member Bargerv, Morris, Aurand, Martin, Hopkins and Arduino.
Upcoming meetings, presented by board members May 12, were:
* business services committee, June 11; discipline policy review committee, June 30; regular board, June 16; policy committee, July 21; education committee, June 26, and third- and fourth-quarter regular board, Aug. 20, all at 6 p.m.
Turner was named Harlem's representative to the 2014 Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) Delegate Assembly. He replaces Russell.
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Browning reported the number of professional development specialists will increase from two to four at the elementary level, to bring students' success in the classroom up to the level the where it should be; and added the proposed 2015-16 school year calendar includes an increase in the number of School Improvement Project (SIP) days in conjunction with the added help in professional development.
Also approved unanimously by the board May 12 were:
* a bid of $398,995, plus an alternate of $7,250, for a total of $406,245, from Distinctive Roofing, Inc., of Rockford, for roof replacement at Marquette Elementary School;
* a bid of $192,335 from Larson and Larson Construction, Inc. of Loves Park, for secured entrances at Parker Center and Olson Park Elementary School;
* vacation days of June 24-27, 2014, for Superintendent Morris;
* an alternate bid of $4,550 for the Maple Elementary School lighting project, to Wilson Electric Company of Rockford;
* an agreement to pay a rate of .0628 for electricity, to Direct Energy, for one year;
* a measure declaring certain Harlem School District property as surplus;
* a request for student travel for the high school girls' track team, to the state meet at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston May 22-24;
* a request to use the high school main gym and fieldhouse for a Grades 3-8 basketball camp Sunday, June 15 and Sunday, June 29, each from 5-9 p,m.;
* changes in the student dress code to reflect changes in what students are wearing, compared to two years ago; the changes came from the discipline policy review committee, chaired by board member Lawrence.