Villa Grove OKs limited sports co-op with Heritage

VILLA GROVE — The Villa Grove school board on Monday approved a limited co-op with some sports to be shared with the Heritage school district.

While a majority of the Villa Grove board supports a full co-op, some members said they wanted more information before reaching that decision.

A motion to co-op for the football team only was defeated Monday night by a 3-4 vote. A second motion for a limited co-op to include football, baseball, girls' basketball, bass fishing and possibly golf passed 5-2.

"We'll provide a lot more opportunities and challenges for our students," said board member Bill Bozdech, speaking in support of a full sports co-op agreement.

Jim Kestner said he agrees that a full co-op will be beneficial to students, but thought it best to start on a limited basis and have more time to explore the best possible cooperative agreement.

"It bothers me how quickly we are being forced into this. This isn't the way we do things," Kestner said.

Sheila Greenwood said the board could add sports after the first year, but the renewals would be in off-years.

In other business, the board continued making budget-reduction decisions. The board issued reduction-in-force notices to three full-time teachers, a half-time teacher and one full-time support worker in preparation for the proposed $500,000 in budget cuts. One high school special education teacher, a high school and junior high physical education teacher, one elementary school teacher, a half-time high school English teacher and one full time custodian were issued RIF notices.

The board also accepted the resignations of junior high math teacher Colleen Schutte, vocal music teacher Rachel Olexa and high school math teacher Justin Burner.

Board member Jim Clark presented a list of long-term and short-term suggestions that he thinks the board should consider. Most of the short-term suggestions included raising current fees, adding new fees and eliminating classroom printers. In the long term, Clark suggested the board start researching the benefits of outsourcing bus service and meal service and also review the administrative staffing of the district.

Superintendent Steve Poznic urged parents at the meeting to express their dissatisfaction with the funding situation to their state legislators. "I think all constituents in all districts in Illinois need to rise up and let their legislators know we are unhappy with this situation," Poznic said. "Express your unhappiness to effect a change in our state education funding."

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