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Public comments bring out various opinions at J-MG

Thursday, February 02, 2017 - Updated: 9:54 AM
Linda Kennedy
Discussion on how the public comment session should be handled at the monthly Joppa-Maple Grove School Board meetings brought up a few heated comments at the Jan. 23 meeting.
During the public comment, residents Denise Meyer and Donald Miller asked the board various questions, from college scholarships earned by Joppa High students, to when the board voted on the new tax levy. With board members and Principal Landon Sommer answering questions, Bill Rogers, J-MG interim superintendent, spoke up and reminded those present that the public comment session is just that – where comments can be made about the district.  “If you have questions, then just call the school with the question and we will work with you to get you the answer,” Rogers stated.
Miller also questioned when the board voted for the tax levy at the December meeting, and was told it was voted upon after the board came out of executive session — a routine that is followed at each of the monthly meetings.        
In other business, Sommer reported under his principal’s report the recent successful fundraiser for Lacey Wright’s third grade classroom under the national Donor’s Choice Project.  “Teachers can submit ideas on items they would like for their classroom, and people nationwide can donate.  Through this project, Mrs. Wright was able to receive trapezoid tables for her classroom – fully funded.  She received donations from California to New York.” The tables were delivered and have been set up.
The Accelerated Reader Rewards Trip was on Jan. 12. Students and teachers traveled to Marion to see a movie.
Sommer informed the board the student council president and vice president attended the Jan. 18 meeting of the Massac County Drug Awareness Coalition (MCDAC).  The coalition wants Joppa High School to form a Youth Advisory Council.  “There is certainly a need for drug-free information to be readily available to our students,” added Sommer.
A school improvement day, with noon dismissal, will be held on Friday, Feb. 3 and the high school’s homecoming game and events will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4, with the game against Thompsonville starting at 4 p.m.
Among Sommer’s extracurricular updates, the board was told about the successes of the high school basketball teams, with the boys winning the Dongola Christmas Tournament and going two and three at the Egyptian Mid-Winter Tournament. Thomas Kendall was named to the All-Tournament Team.  Also, Hailey Kendall became the All-Time Leading Scorer for Joppa on Jan. 17 when she scored 31 points against Century to break Molly Stephens’s record in 1996 that had held the mark at 1861.
Prior to closing his report, Sommer presented details to the board about the senior trip, scheduled for Saturday, April 22 through Tuesday, April 25 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Approximately 16 students and two adults will attend.  Sommer explained the seniors have been fundraising for the trip, and all expenses, including meals, will be paid through the class’ fundraising efforts. Following closed session, the board did approve the senior trip.
The high school gym floor was refinished over Christmas break and several positive comments have been received following its completion, stated Bill Biggerstaff, under his district administrative report.   
Steve May, district architect, has been visiting both schools working on the 10-year Health, Life Safety Survey that is required by the state.  Biggerstaff said May is now beginning to put dollar figures together on areas that need to be addressed in the survey.
Biggerstaff concluded by telling the board that as of now, the last day of school for J-MG will be Tuesday, May 23.  The student’s last day is set for Monday, May 22.
All consent agenda items were approved by the board.  They included:
• Approval of the Dec. 19 board meeting minutes
• Approval of the financial reports, activity funds, bills and payroll
• And, adopted the revised certified and support staff seniority lists.

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