School budget will balance, Akers predicts

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

 The Cambridge Community Unit School District #227 Board of Education met for a budget hearing Thursday, Sept. 18, right before the regular school board meeting.

 Tom Akers, Cambridge superintendent of schools, explained the 2008-09 budget. He used the revenues provided by former superintendent Steve Fink. 

 “The expenses will be higher than last year,” he stated. “But the school district will have a balanced budget this school year.”

 The budget was approved following the public participation part of the meeting.

 After the budget meeting, Cambridge High School principal Robert Reagan introduced three new teachers to the school board members. They were Ashley Phillips, ag teacher, Angela Anderson, STAR NET facilitator and Kim Jansen, Spanish teacher.

 During the regular school board meeting, the Karin Brink reported to the board information from the Henry-Stark Special Education meeting. She reported the Henry-Stark Special Education Cooperative has hired a retired psychologist. They now have two parttime psychologists.

 Administrative reports were given by Shelly Logston, Cambridge Elementary School principal, Reagan and Akers.

 Logston reported grade school enrollment is 288 for prekindergarten through sixth grade. There are 27 families in Bright Beginnings and over 20 families in the Beginnings at Home program.

 She also reported that Power School is currently doing attendance, grades and lunch count. The school will be opening the parent portal during Parent-Teacher Conferences scheduled for Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30 and 31. Parents will receive their pass codes along with a brief description of Power School. Al Steider will be available for any parents who would like to go into the computer lab to learn more individually.

 Reagan reported enrollment at the junior high level was 70 students and at the high school level, 154.

 He announced that Bill Burklund, a Cambridge High School senior, is a National Merit Scholar semi-finalist. He is one of only 16,000 students nationwide to receive this honor. He scored in the top one percent of the PSAE test.

 Reagan announced the Cambridge High School marching band received a first place in Class D at the Monmouth Prime Beef Festival Parade.

 Phillips requested a field trip be approved over the 150-mile range according to Reagan. Phillips and seven FFA students request permission to attend the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN., from Wednesday, Oct. 22, through Saturday, Oct. 25. The board approved the trip.

 Akers commended Logston and Reagan for their response to the recent situations they have dealt with at the Cambridge Schools.

 “They are top-notch administrators,” Akers stated. “Their professionalism, problem solving skills and communication skills are outstanding. The teachers, staff and students’ cooperation and teamwork made these tough times easier.”

 Akers presented an update on the district’s strategic goal plans and talked about the school’s Web site and how there is a picture tour of the school district now on line. Music was added to the picture tour by Shirley Miller, high school computer teacher.

 In other business:

 • The school board accepted a letter of resignation from seventh and eighth grade boys’ basketball coach Chris Bulens.

 • Bridget Potthoff addressed the school board regarding the accessibility for handicapped individuals to go to the upper and lower floors of the elementary school. She would like to participate more in her child’s classroom activities, but is not able to participate because of the stairs. She would like the school board to improve these conditions and make handicapped accessible provisions to the building. She stated that the high school needed handicapped provisions also. Her child will be at the elementary school building soon. She also suggested having a handicapped accessible school bus. The board thanked Potthoff for coming to the meeting and expressing her concerns.

 Under new business, the board approved the 2008-09 application for the recognition of schools.

 They adjourned the meeting to a closed sessions to discuss employment of personnel and student discipline.

 After the meeting was reopened, the board employed Khloe Westfall as the yearbook photographer. Meagan DeKezel and Jasmine Harp have been hired as after school assistants.