The Bluford Board of Education held its regular June meeting on Tuesday, June 21. It was a busy meeting with numerous action items. In personnel actions, the Board accepted the resignations of teachers Christina Freeman and Jacque Withrow as they have accepted positions with other school districts. Additionally, the district welcomes Ce Ce Clemons (elementary special education), Scott Ewing (junior high special education), and Bridget McConnell (high school family and consumer science) to the staff. Hannah Pierce was also hired as the junior high cross country coach.
There were several action items that are annual approvals including the approval of the FY22 amended budget, the purchase of a treasurer's bond for the school district’s Treasurer, the approval of audit services for the FY22 audit, updates to the student handbook, purchased services from Franklin-Jefferson Special Education co-operative, and the renewal of membership with the Illinois High School Association.
The Board also approved the adoption of an Employee Assistance Program which is a new benefit offered by the district’s health insurance carrier. With this, staff and their families will have access to in person counseling, work/life assistance (elderly care/adoption assistance), financial coaching from a CPA, legal advice, and identity theft assistance.
Also related to staff, the Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding which addressed three areas of the current collective bargaining agreement. First, the district wanted to provide additional compensation for the seven teachers retiring from the district. The MOU provided additional compensation up to 6% over their previous year salary. These individuals provided a combined 211 years of service to the district so, the maximum raise allowed is the least the district could do (thank you for your service). Additionally, the number of tuition hours eligible for reimbursement was increased from 3 per year to 9 per year. Finally, the district is investing additional funding that will be received from the State of Illinois next year as a recruitment and retention incentive for certified and non-certified staff members. The annual base salary will be increased by $4,000 next year. In a study of area school districts, it was found that BUSD had a lower base salary on an average of $3,615. This recruitment/retention incentive brings the district in line with neighboring districts. All teachers who were below the newly established base will be brought up to the base and any teacher who was above will receive additional compensation of $3,150, which is on top of the contractual raise. Finally, all hourly employees will receive an additional $1 to their hourly rate. Again, this amount is on top of the contractual raise. The district is hopeful that this incentive will help attract and retain the best staff possible.
In other action, the Board approved the installation of a drain pipe near the east drive of the high school to improve the grade and a change order was approved to install a 300’ x 12’ asphalt sidewalk directly adjacent to the track on the north side. The Board also approved an annual raise for non-collective bargaining employees.
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 21, at 6:00 p.m. in the Board office.