BOE Meeting on April 15

Courtesy of District158.org

Courtesy of District 158

Courtesy of District158.org

Arianna Joob

Another District 158 Board of Education meeting started around 6 p.m. on Thursday. The board members sat down and awaited the start of the live-streamed part of the meeting at 7 p.m. Little did they know at the end of the meeting they would be approving a motion about a new coffee shop that will be provided at Huntley High School.

The meeting started with Young Authors Awards. First, the awards were given to children from kindergarten to second grade, then third to fifth grade, and finally the middle school level. The judges picked one person in every grade from each school. Lots of kids stood next to the board as they were awarded medals, took pictures with each other, and had their parents take pictures of them.

“That was a well-needed breath of fresh air,” a board of education member said. “It’s great to see kids of all ages, especially great to see that they were working hard on their books. For some of them, it [took] many months.”

They also talked about the secondary students going back to school these past few weeks full-time every day in-person.

“We still face some of the same transportation challenges. However, our efforts continue, you will begin to see additional levels of recruitment around town,” another board member said.

63% of students district-wide are back to school, while about 41% of the high school’s students are returning. 1,200 HHS students are back in person and around 1,700 are still remote. 

“50% of the remaining [remote] students at the secondary schools want to come back, and are waiting for transportation opportunities to open up,” the same board member said.

The schools are trying to make the transportation situation work. If the student can get a ride to school themselves, they are still able to go back. In addition, the number of students allowed on buses by the state has proposed an increase, but the difficulty for the district is finding bus drivers. Through social media and talking to local Commercial Driver’s License facilities, they have been able to get the word out and hopefully find new recruits. 

Also, a more formal update about school in the fall is coming next week. Although, they are planning on a full return at all levels. State guidance will be given this month to schools so they can start planning for the upcoming school year.

As far as online courses in the future, they plan on making them available, although it will not look like remote learning today. They will plan to have online classes available for the high school this next semester for people with a medical need. 

“There is going to be a transition period between what remote looks like and our future of online courses being offered like blended [learning] is,” the previous board member said. “It may be an option for you to take one to two online courses.”

As far as legislation, President Biden announced the infrastructure plan of $2.3 trillion. $100 billion will be used for existing improvements on K-12 school structures. The district will see what that means for schools later.

When it comes to changing block schedules, they have no definite answer for it yet. Right now, they are working on giving the new principals mentors, who are previous administrators at District 158, and helping them get inclined to their new job. 

“I’m very pleased to present you the Quest consulting agreement…and I received glowing references on their management and oversight with regard to the coffee shop,” another board member said. “The fees appear very reasonable.”

The new agreement with Quest Good Management Services for a coffee shop is a 3-year agreement, with on-sight management, a full-time employee, kitchen staff training, etc. The motion for the ancillary service station coffee shop agreement was officially approved by the board tonight.

Finally, as far as sports go, IHSA state event status moving forward will be talked about at future meetings. For the addition of things like golf at the middle school level, the district will have more information soon.

Overall, lots of new things are happening with the district. Changes made over the summer will greatly affect the school. As far as what is to come with school this fall and IHSA sports, we will have to find out at the next board meeting.