March 5 Board of Education Meeting


J. Soriano

Jimmie Soriano

Last Thursday, March 5, the most recent Board of Education meeting took place. The event started with five young children from the district’s local Mackeben elementary school being present as they had raised the most money in a recent fundraiser through the PTA. 

These young students led all attendees for the meeting through the pledge as they continued to discuss future plans for the fundings they raised and how it will be going towards new, eco-friendly water fountains with reusable bottle refilling stations attached. 

When asked how it felt to help the school and really make an impact to their learning environment, one student simply said:


The board continued to recognize the students’ efforts as well as bring attention to future fundraising events these children may foresee. The students themselves are excited for said events as they mentioned enjoying other fundraisers by “selling cookie dough” and generally “being kind” to help out their school.

With all of the excitement gone, the board followed its normal routine and agenda. Many students may find solace in the fact that everything for the district is following schedule. Notably, the blackbox theatre for the Fine Arts Academy is projected to finish sometime this summer, and new construction plans can be commissioned as the previous construction plans for 2019 are all coming to a close.

Additionally, the Vanguard Vision program adopted by the high school is smoothly transitioning into its third year. With new recruits coming in and old veterans holding it steady, the program can look forward to new courses, and teachers to support them, to challenge students who seek to reach their full potential with heavier classes such as AP U.S. History. 

Finally, the board brought more attention to the way extra-curricular activities are held at the high school. In other districts, teachers who are willing to stay after with their students who wish to start, for example, a club receive payment to do so. However, teachers in District 158 do not. 

Whether or not this will change in the future is still under close supervision as some extracurriculars continue to grow at different rates, which may ultimately need more or less supervision. With no other anomalies to supervise, it is clear that the district has been managing their budget well with many other events to look forward to.


  • The meeting opens with school children being awarded for their charity work
  • Competency based learning
    • Plans for scaling into year 3
    • Enrollment — students already rolling in, new freshman (8th)
    • New teachers already in training for expanding vanguard learning
    • Academic Spotlight: teachers/ parents and their children talking about their experience
    • Belin coming in
      • How many are dropping off?
        • Class of 2022: started with just under 100 students, 8-10?
          • Monitors health of the program
      • How many coming in?
        • Trying to be honest about what program is
        • Belin’s hoverboard recruiting new students
    • Parents coming in constantly speaking about excitement about the program

Article 9 — Finance Committee

  • 9.1 (payables)
    • Nothing for funding concerns
  • 9.2 (fiscal updates)
    • Positive News, new things being done in springfield
    • Update: moving along smoothly
      • Medical program division?
      • Trying to talk to senators about funding
    • Bus bids are open (Feb 10.)
      • All types of busses??
    • Positive, overall
  • 9.3 (revenue and expenditures report)
    • January 2020
      • District continuing to stay in budget
      • Possible (unlikely) health insurance concerns going over budget
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield 900K, previously 600K — premiums going up in terms of laws
      • Pipelines — long term issues (only anomaly)
      • Otherwise steady
  • 9.4 (revenue contracts)
    • 2 different organizations doing 2 different fundraising programs
  • 9.5 (extracurricular involvement)
    • Safety reasons
    • Tier 1 recommendations
      • Want new people (supervisors) coming in for track and “chair”
    • In door meets because of in door track house (new hosting, 8 meets)
      • Now have an indoor season putting stress on coaches
      • Only pay 1 stipend worth, whereas other school districts paying 2 stipends
    • Additional Club stipends?
      • Unknown anomalies need careful supervision
        • May prevent any new clubs allowed to start up for next year (unlikely)
      • People (advisors) have not been stipend
        • Teachers voluntarily manage clubs without ever getting paid
        • Nothing seemed to change about this 

Article 10 — Human Resource Committee

  • 10.1 (human resource update)
    • Honorable dismissal list on track, all dates aligned
  • 10.2 (contract days)
    • Reduction of extra contract days
  • 10.3 (probationary employees)

Article 11 — Building and Grounds Committee

  • 11.1 (building update)
    • Closed last 2019 summer project finally
      • Starting new 2020 projects
      • Solar panels looking to “shutdown” to activate (square barn)
    • “On Schedule”
  • 11.2 (fine arts update)
    • Black box theater
    • Interior finishing very progressive
    • On schedule
  • 11.3 (exterior window repair bid)
    • Problems with window systems? (insulation?)
    • Well under budget, everything going smoothly
  • 11.4 (Thru-Wall Flashing Replacement Bid)
    • Lots of bids
      • Spread of numbers, familiar bidders

Article 12

  • Silence

Article 13

  • Closed session