Triad Board Approves Updates To Budget; Hears Public Comment On Mask Issue

By Charlie Feldman

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The Triad School Board met on Monday, June 28 at 6:30 p.m. to amend the budget for the recently completed fiscal year and to take care of other business.

“Basically what we’re doing,” said assistant superintendent Kennan Fagan before the meeting, “is the state allows us to do an amendment of our original budget. This has been a challenging year with unique changes.”

Some of the changes were made by the state – it’s paying for school lunches now, he said, and that wasn’t reflected in the original budget.

“This is an amendment that will correct changes in our revenue as well as changes in our expenditures at the end of this fiscal year,” he said. “This will account for the CARES grant, the loss of revenue due to interest and loans that we took out for our electric buses.”

The board voted to approve the following changes:

• The amount of interest revenue was reduced in all funds.

• Federal Lunch Reimbursements were increased (to make up for lost revenue).

• CARES Grants 1 and 2 revenue were added to both the Education and Operations and Maintenance Funds and the Digital Equity Grant was added to Education Fund .

• Loans to transportation for buses was changed to more accurately reflect the correct amount of the loan

• The District Capital Outlay line in Operations and Maintenance was reduced by $500K to more accurately reflect items charged to that line.

• The “Vehicles” line in Transportation was reduced to accurately reflect the buses purchased during FY21.

The estimated ending balance  for fiscal year 2020-21 is now $4,975,700.

The district is seeing some other changes as well. High school principal Rodney Winslow is now in the central office as director of secondary curriculum, freeing Amy Van Hoose to be more focused on elementary. Moving into his old position today, July 1, is longtime THS social studies teacher Kelli Barbour.

The biggest change, however, has yet to come.

“We hope by next month we have more direction from the state for reopening and guidelines from the state for COVID,” Fagan said. Right now, masks are still required for students and for unvaccinated and vaccinated people working together.

He said something similar to FOX 2 News in its story about Speak For Students, a group of picketers that had gathered outside before the meeting who wanted masks eliminated completely in the upcoming school year .

“A lot of us are concerned about the masks in school,” said one addressing the board later during the public comments section of the meeting. “My kids have been wearing the same masks for like two months straight…

She said “I don’t think they’re very sanitary. The kids are not sanitary. Kids do get dirty.

“They have germs all the time around them,” she said. “They build immunity. That’s how they’re going to get over COVID.”

She said someone had judged her older daughter because she had her mask on. That it was hard for the kids to concentrate in school because they were hot and uncomfortable. “The kids have started developing social skills with masks on,” she said.

“I think that some of the science that’s being followed were symmetrics from a year ago,” she continued. She said they should have poll for the parents on what they think should be done. “This is our community,” she said.

Another said they should ensure that everyone’s personal choices and civil liberties are honored by removing all restrictions related to masking, vaccine or pharma, social distancing and COVID testing. “Use of executive orders are not the law,” he said. “A bill is not a law.” He pointed out the Illinois State Board of Education lacks the authority to enforce its guidance that the board is waiting for.

“The choice should be left to the individual, without fear,” he said. “You have the authority and ability to set the example for other school districts in Madison County.”

The new handbooks for Triad Middle and High Schools were approved. The THS school day for students will begin at 6:50 a.m. and end at 2:05 p.m. At TMS, early bird band will begin at 7 a.m., the building will open at 7:20 and students will attend from 7:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. so students can board the bus before it goes to the high school. To avoid transportation snags, bus dismissal will be at 1:45 p.m. and car rider and athletic dismissal at 1:50. An activity bus running at 2:30 and 4 p.m. would allow time for after-school groups. This is subject to change if this doesn’t work well.

The next school board meeting will be on Monday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the districts central offices. It may also be viewed on the Triad CUSD2 YouTube channel via a link available on the district’s Board Docs page.

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