Harrisburg school board has experienced a new change in membership, the fourth this year.
During Tuesday night's meeting the board accepted the resignation of board President Scott Berry and appointed long-time board member and past president Tom DeNeal as its president.
The board approved Chris Penrod, owner of Penrod Plumbing, as Berry's replacement and Penrod read the oath of office before taking his seat at the board's table.
The board spent a significant amount of time discussing four options for Superintendent Dennis Smith to use when figuring the district's tax levy. The board in a straw poll directed Smith to set the tax increase at 4.99 percent increase over 2012, the maximum amount of increase that can be set without hold a Truth in Taxation Hearing.
Smith is estimating the Equalized Assessed Valuation for 2013 at $121,500,000 — an amount that will be finalized by the Saline County Tax Assessor's Office next August. That EAV would set the levy at $5,552,468. Without bond and interest that amount would be $4,635,468.
Smith will have the levy ready for board approval during the November meeting.
Board member Brian Hester opted for setting the levy by capping the dollar amount paid as a benefit to the taxpayer.
Smith said the board could do that and in a perfect situation state aid should cover any shortfall, but state aid dispersal to schools has fallen short of expectations.
Board member Jeffrey Drake said he would prefer the scenario that would not result in any loss of money to the district. Other members suggested the 4.99 percent levy.
During the meeting:
Smith said he had not received a counter offer to the school's $100,000 offer to purchase Dorris Heights Complex for baseball from the Harrisburg Township Park.
The board approved $5,262 to the Middle School Fitness Center for enclosing the structure. The center was to be built through fundraising alone at no cost to the school, but funds have fallen short and with winter approaching the work so far could be diminished without enclosing it. About $38,000 has been raised and about another $20,000 is need to finish the interior, Middle School Principal John Crabb said. The board agreed that with so much more needed to complete the structure the board would not require the money be paid back to the district.
The board rescinded an earlier action regarding the fee of $100 for athletic participation and passed the fee action again without the stipulation the fee for athletic participation be tied an athletic class. Legal services at the Illinois State Board of Education advised a fee could not be charged for required classes.
The board had the first reading of a federal policy requiring school districts be able to produce electronically stored information during the discovery process in lawsuits. That means the district will archive all e-mail traffic sent or received through the school owned domain. "If you work at Unit 3, you are captured now and subject to subpoena," Smith said.
Page 2 of 2 - The board accepted resignations of Zach Cox as assistant wrestling coach and Melissa Portee as second grade Title Reading aide.
The board employed Melissa Dowdy and Angela Salus as special education EOC aides; Brittney Nix and Misty Richey as after school aides; Cathy Hammersley as HHS guidance assistant; Jason Butler as girls head soccer coach; and Jennifer Cain as non-special education EOC aide.
The board approved a maternity leave request by Mallory Wilson.
The board approved a medical leave request by Tiffany Kielhorn.
The board approved a resolution to authorize issuance of a notice remedial warning to tenured teacher Joe Thompson for an unannounced reason. Drake abstained and Penrod abstained, stating he had no opinion on the matter.