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June Superintendent Newsletter

Winchester CUSD #1 Monthly Newsletter

May 31, 2019      

51 seniors became graduates of Winchester High School last Friday.  We had a record number of scholarships given out. We are so appreciative of the community support and wish out graduates the best of luck!  We also had 40 8th graders promoted to WHS last Thursday. Both ceremonies were well-attended and our school district pride was showing bright!

Kathy Barber and I were honored at the WGS Luncheon and District Meeting last Friday.  Kathy is retiring after 30 years in the Winchester District. I am retiring at the end of June after serving as superintendent for the last 11 years.  Thank you for the cards and gifts, they were very thoughtful!

The evacuation of WGS on May 15th was a precaution as answers given by the student who brought the battery charger suggested that there might be a second device in a classroom.  The battery charger was found in the student’s locker earlier that morning. There was no other device found during the Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad search. The WGS staff and students handled this disruption very well and we received great cooperation/support from the Baptist Church, the City of Winchester, City/County Law Enforcement, and EMS/Fire/Rescue.      

There is considerable activity at the state capital leading to new legislation that will impact K-12 education.  Bills addressing pension issues, cost shift, cannabis, gaming, taxes, teacher salaries, school calendars, and school consolidation will likely be settled by midnight tonight.  I would expect a FY20 state budget to also be approved today.

We have had Internet slowdown and stoppage issues since March.  I met with Sean Middleton (from IEC) and Norvin Adams recently. They think the issue involves someone going on a video  gaming site that calls for thousands of other sites. This hits our firewall and knocks us off the Internet. This has been resolved but we now are experience slowdown/stoppage due to a server going bad which has impacted our firewall again.  Resolutions to these problems are in the works over the summer break.

The 2019 Small, Rural School Achievement (SRSA) Grant has been completed.  This federal grant is also referred to as REAP - Rural Education Achievement Program.  We have received around $25,000 from this grant each of the last three years and will find out this summer the exact amount for 2019.  This program is linked to our WGS Title I status and must be used in the grade school. We use these funds for technology purchases and improvements.

Our projected FY20 Title I funding is $108,150.00 which is about $15,000 less than this year.  Our Career and Technical Education Grant allocation for FY20 is $12,481.00.

We had our ISBE Lunch/Breakfast Program Audit recently.  Melissa Neff (lunch program coordinator) and Peggy Shelts (head cook) both do a good job of staying up on all the rules and regs.  We have some minor violations that we will address when we get the final report.

Electricity and water have been run to the greenhouse.  We are working with Doyle’s and the City of Winchester to get a gas line ran for the heating unit.

Todd Hannah, our school architect from Allied Design, was here recently to look at the cafeteria floor.  He brought a market manager from Armstrong Flooring with him. There is a conflict between Todd and CTS over who should pay for replacing damaged cafeteria floor tiles.  The good news - there is no cost to us for the epoxy floor replacement.

The following motions were approved at the May 14th School Board Meeting:

  1. Conducted second reading and approved proposed changes to WHS 2019-2020 handbook

  2. Approved Consolidated District Plan for federal grant programs

  3. Accepted resignation of Adam Brockhouse as teacher/coach/athletic director

  4. Employed:  High School Science - Breann Milam, Summer Grounds full-time - Aaron Rebbe & Adam Ratliff, Co-Op Student Workers fall 2019 - Adam Ratliff & Will McDade, Special Education - Angie Heberling, Athletic Director - Grant Dewitt, Head Football Coach - Matt Coultas, Fall Head Coaches - TJ Plogger & Kandice Kunkel, Winter Head Coaches - Ryan Sichting, Brian Bettis, Adam Little, & Jason Likes

  5. Approved 3 year collective bargaining agreement with Bus Union