Amended property tax settlement OK'd by GCMS school board

By ROSS BROWN
bluehavanaross@gmail.com


GIBSON CITY — Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley school board members approved an updated version of a property tax settlement between the school district, the City of Gibson and the One Earth Energy ethanol plant on Monday night.

GCMS Superintendent Jeremy Darnell said the amended settlement includes an approximate $5,000 payment in escrow money due to the settlement date now being effective Dec. 17 instead of Nov. 1.

As part of the agreement, the school board approved an amendment to Gibson City’s “TIF 2” tax-increment financing district. The plan, as outlined in the original tax case settlement, will send a 40 percent prepay to GCMS instead of the City of Gibson. Darnell said the original amount a decade ago was 25 percent and currently is 30 percent.

Football team recognized
Darnell and the board welcomed members of GCMS High School’s football team at the start of its meeting and recognized the team for winning its second consecutive state championship.

“It’s great to see 7,000 or 8,000 people wearing red and black (at Memorial Stadium) when there’s only 3,000 in our entire district,” Darnell told a small group of players present as well as head coach Mike Allen. “It’s pretty amazing stuff. Kudos to you guys for working so hard. It’s pretty easy to cheer for you guys because you’re such good kids.”

Board member Steve Swearingen thanked the players for volunteering on Fridays at GCMS Elementary School as “football readers.”

“(The kids) look up to you guys like crazy,” Swearingen said.

Other business
Also at the meeting:

➜ Board members approved a renewal of a workers’ compensation insurance contract from the Illinois Public Risk Fund and Insurance Providers Group. Darnell said the district had a 3.58 percent drop in cost from last year, which he attributed to the district not having any workers’ compensation claims.

➜ The board approved the fiscal year 2019 tax levy as presented. Darnell said the levy is unchanged from a tentative one presented last month. Taxpayers will see a 5.77 property tax rate compared with a rate  of 5.89 last year. Since the levy calls for “far below” a 5 percent increase, Darnell said there was no need to hold a public hearing prior to its approval.

➜ The board hired Danielle Jones as an elementary school teacher starting Jan. 7 and Phil Schwing as an assistant middle school wrestling coach for the 2018-19 season.

➜ The board approved master’s degree tuition reimbursement for Catherine Peterson.

➜ The board approved an unpaid leave of absence for Lisa Lange through June 30.

➜ The board approved volunteer coaches: Jacob Franklin (wrestling); Shelbie Kearfott and Morgan Kutemeier (middle school volleyball); Mark Ward, Marcus Watterson, Chris Stroh, Tim Leonard, Adam Elder, Matt Lindelof, Rick Kerchenfaut, Ryan Iverson, Brett Beyers, Jamie Sexton, Jeff Grider, Nick Elder, Ben Kaeding, Kaleb Kraft and Brandon Roderick (youth basketball); Alison Sizemore, Angel Osladil, Steven Osladil and Taylor Leake (girls’ track); Chase McCall (boys’ track); Leonard and Greg Brucker (softball); and Pete Hornstein, Christian Rosenbeck, Patrick Bean and Bob Huppert (baseball).

➜ Ford County Special Education Cooperative (FCSEC) Director Jesse McFarling said the psychologist opening at the high school has been posted online. McFarling said no applications had come in yet, but he said he has talked with a few interested applicants. The board also approved an amended FCSEC budget.

➜ GCMS Middle School Principal Kyle Bielfeldt said a substantial number of eighth-graders exceeded Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing standards. Bielfeldt also announced the school is hosting a career fair for eighth-graders on Jan. 25. Students had previously been encouraged to attend a career fair at Parkland College in Champaign, but now the school is doing one in-house.

➜ GCMS Elementary School Principal Justin Kean encouraged everyone to attend the school’s music program on Dec. 18. Students in kindergarten through second grade were to sing at 6 p.m. followed by third- through fifth-graders at 7 p.m.
 

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