By Steve Rensberry, Editor
Members of the Collinsville School Board took steps toward a safer and school district with two approvals at their regular Nov. 18 board meeting, one involving the classroom alerting and communications app produced by CrisisGo.
Approved was an emergency management contract with the company at a cost of $43,150, with $15,850 to be paid the first year and $13,650 for each of the remaining two years in the contract.
The CrisisGo app decision came with the recommendation of the Budget Committee, with Board Member Dennis Kraft reporting that the committee had approved the purchase. The app will change how things are done in a crisis situation, Kraft said, as well as allow for quicker response times.
The app system is not expected to be in operation until January of next year. Triad is among nearby districts who have signed on with the app, which combines alerts, two-way messaging, and a ready source of safety information for anyone connected to the district, among other features.
Also approved by the board was an upgrade to the district’s access control system in the amount of $17,000 from Pro Alarm.
A decision about board policy as it pertains to substances such as marijuana was put on hold temporarily until the board can review the matter more, with an eye toward balancing competing interests and requirements.
One of those involves what’s known as “Ashley’s Law,” which was signed into law by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, and which allows students with serious iIlinois or conditions, who can legally use medical marijuana, to do so while at school under appropriate supervision.
Another competing interest involves federal law itself, which still lists marijuana on the Schedule of Controlled Substances, though enforcement may be unlikely in states where it has become legal.
An attorney representing the district noted the dilemma posed by the risk of federal aid being withheld if a school policy runs counter to federal policy, such as that on marijuana, vs the risk of being sued for not letting a student have access to permitted medical marijuana.
He referred to it as a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils, but suggested the risk of getting funds withheld was probably less than the risk of getting sued.
One board member asked if the lack of a policy for the next couple of months would cause a problem for the district, to which the attorney replied that such cases could be still be handled, only on a case-by-case basis.
Collinsville Superintendent Brad Skertich cited the need to adapt, in view of the changes that are happening with respect to marijuana.
“It’s going to be an adjustment to where we were 15 years ago,” Skertich said. “We’re going to have to adapt.”
A financial report given by Uta Robison showed a district balance fund balance as of Oct. 31, 2019, of approximately $35.6 million. The balance in its four key operating funds — education, operatins and maintenance, transportation, and working cash — was at $16.7 million.