Two Rock Island High School senior students were honored at the Board of Education meeting. Allison Brown and Deborah Newcomb were presented certificates by Principal Robert Mason for being named Commended Students in the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program. “They are academic leaders in the classroom and have achieved this honor through their hard work with help and support from their parents, families and teachers,” said Mason. Superintendent Loy and Board of Education President Bill Cleaver praised students for their work and dedication. Read more >>
The board also applauded Principal Mike Russell for being named a 2009 National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals last week at a banquet in Washington D.C. “We are extremely proud of Mike and his leadership in working with students, staff and parents to provide the best learning environment for children in the district,” said Mr. Loy.
Rock Island High School student board members were seated at the meeting: Freshman Kelly Bishop, Sophomore Zavier Clark and Junior Jasmine Taylor will be participating in future meetings however are considered non-voting members. They will be sharing the voice of students and updating the Board of Education on events and happenings.
Board Member Updates:
Linda Dothard attended the Illinois Liquid Asset Fund Board meeting. She also encouraged the board members to take a look at the hallways outside of Spanish teacher Grace Shirk’s room. Students have been decorating the hallway in celebration of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is November 2. Dave Rockwell attended the Community Caring Conference’s Annual Heroes Banquet on Thursday, Oct. 15. The school district had three “heroes” who were recognized: RIHS student Chasson Randle, Thurgood Marshall Teacher Cheryl Gipson and Rock Island Primary Academy volunteer Michael Bryant won awards at the banquet. Mr. Rockwell announced that the annual Rock Island-Milan Booster Raffle and Dance was approaching. The event is on November 7 and plenty of tickets are available for purchase. He also attended three meetings with the Neighborhood Partners School-Community Task Force in regards to the Safe Routes to School plan for the new location of the Rock Island Center for Math and Science. City staff Jill Doak and Neighborhood Partner President Ed Hanna have been contributing a lot of direction to the plan and should be commended for their efforts.
Student board member Jasmine Taylor attended a college fair at St. Ambrose over the fall intersession. Zavier Clark announced that the RIHS Interact Club presented a check to the Rock Island Rotary Club at their weekly Tuesday meeting for the money the club raised for Shelterbox and Polio eradication. Kelly Bishop asked the board to consider volunteering for the RIHS Varsity Academic Competition on Saturday, November 21.
Superintendent Loy announced that the district will be offering free seasonal flu shots to students K-6 in conjunction with Genesis Hospital. The district has taken this flu epidemic very seriously and and want to take all precautions necessary.
Denkmann Elementary has scheduled a ribbon-cutting for next Tuesday, November 3 at 4:00 p.m to celebrate the completion of the construction projects. Board members, the district and community are invited to attend.
The school district has partnered with the Rock Island Park Board to offer Learn to Swim lessons for 1st and 2nd graders in the Rock Island-Milan School District. The first school, Frances Willard, has started their 8 week program at the Rock Island Fitness Center. This program is a reality due to a generous grant from the Rock Island Community Foundation.
There was no report from the Rock Island Education Association.
District Report Card Update
Asst. Superintendent Bill Osborne gave the board a glimpse of the State of Illinois Report card and reviewed some student demographic and test score data. The graduation rate fell slightly to 82.4% from 83.1% the previous year, however positive trends were seen in attendance and truancy rates. Mr. Osborne credits the high school with stricter policies in attendance in place for students who are at risk of cutting classes. 2009 ACT composite scores remain at 19.1% and has seen steady growth over the last five years. The K-8 ISAT scores decreased slightly from 70.7 to 70.4 meets, and the high school PSAE saw a considerable increase from 43.5 to 47.5 meets. The State of Illinois report card data will be released to the public sometime this week.
Final data for 2008-2009 Scorecard reveal that attendance rate (94%) and promotion rate (98.86%) showed a positive increase about their respective targets of 96.83% and 93.65%. The district State Profile Score went from 3.8 to 3.35 due to the bond sale. The district’s independent audit this fall resulted in zero findings, and has been a trend for the district for several years. The first quarter of 2009-10 show positive results in students who have received less than 2 referrals over the previous year, and those with no out-of-school suspensions also increased, which is a good trend toward keeping students in school. Student attendance was 94.25% and the district had 1 loss time injury. Both are improvements over the previous year.
Property Tax Levy
Associate Superintendent Mike Oberhaus estimated that the 2009 property tax levy will be $27,330,000 which is a 1.1% increase over last years amount. The recommended tax rate for 2009 is $5.053, a slight decrease from the previous year’s rate of $5.056. Property taxes account for approximately 40% of the district’s budget and are the most stable form of revenue for the district. The rest of the district revenue is depended on from the State of Illinois, which calculates its number based on the amount of property taxes levied. An increase in tax levy results in less money for the district from the State of Illinios. On November 24 the board will conduct a hearing and then adopt the 2009 levy.
Five Year Projections
The next five years look formidable for the school district revenue. Corporate taxes will decline and competitive grants will be reduced each year. On the expenditure side salaries will increase 3 1/2% (2% increase plus steps) and fringe benefits by 8%. The projected deficit for 2010-11 is $4.342 million. The district administration is recommending that the board allow half of the projected deficit to be covered by district reserves and the other half be covered by a reduction in expenditures.
- Asst. Superintendent Kay Ingham updated the board about the Youthbuild program. The Rock Island Housing Authority proposed to take over the administrative and financial aspects of the program and TMC Principal Phil Ambrose will be involved with the facilitation of the program on the school district’s end. If all goes as planned, Youthbuild will resume again in January after details are worked out.
- The board approved the School Improvement Plans for Rock Island High School, Edison and Washington Jr. High Schools, Earl Hanson and Rock Island Academy.
- Board member Dr. Bishop requested that an item regarding perfect attendance and final exam policy be put on a future board agenda for discussion.
- Board member Earl Strupp requested that The Rock Island Center for Math & Science plaque be put on a future board agenda for discussion.
- In compliance with Public Act 96-034 the Administrative Salaries Compensaiton report is posted on the School District’s Web site. Next spring the district will be required to post Certified Staff salaries as well.