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Officials approve contracts for director of personnel, assistant principal

The New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education decided to approve some administrative contracts at its March 21 regular meeting.

In accordance with board action, the District named Lori Motsch as its director of personnel and Charissa Sweich as Oakview and Nelson Ridge schools’ new assistant principal.

Superintendent Peggy Manville took time to acknowledge the persons who will be assuming new roles.

Motsch started working for the District in 1995, at which point she taught kindergarten at Schmuhl School. She was later promoted to an assistant principal position and more recently went on to become principal at Spencer Trail School.

“I know as she begins her new career here that everyone will benefit from her leadership, her vision, and all of her talent,” Manville said.

When Manville became the District’s superintendent four years ago, the Board of Education did not fill the director of personnel position. At the time, she proposed leaving the post vacant to allow for a cost-savings reduction.

“It was the understanding that we would need to eventually reinstate the position, due to the size of our district and the number of employees,” Manville said. “It is unusual not to have a personnel/human resource director with over 650 employees.”

Motsch will earn $139,000 salary through 2019, at which point all administrative contracts will be renegotiated.

When asked if the District is concerned that board action could create the impression that the administration is becoming more top-heavy, Manville negated the idea.

“Based upon data we collected in 2016, other elementary elementary districts our size have, on average, 10 district office administrators,” Manville said. “With the reinstatement of the personnel/human resource position, we will have seven district office administrators. Therefore, we believe that we are continuing to do more with less and we are certainly not top-heavy for a district this size.”

The District has a history of maximizing the value of what it can do to support student learning through its spending over the years.

“The District reduced approximately $10 million in operational costs, which included the elimination of an human resources person, a communications director, three assistant principals, and a director of curriculum for a number of years,” Manville said.

As for the assistant principal position, a vacancy was created last month when Mary Zastro was named Bentley School’s new principal

Sweich was selected one of out of 12 potential candidates to assume the role. Her contract stipulates that she will earn a $76,000 salary through 2019.

Manville said she knows that Sweich will continue to make the two schools a better place.

In a pair of 6-0 decisions, officials voted to extend administrative contracts for a director of personnel and an assistant principal. Board Member Michele Degroot Rosenfeld was absent.

National School Lunch Program bid, contract renewal OK’d

Also at the meeting, officials awarded a box lunch contract to Quest Food Management Services for the remainder of the 2017-2018 school year.

The vendor has been providing the service all year.

“Quest is a new vendor for this school year, and they’ve done a really great job,” Business Manager Bob Groos said. “The lunches are much better this year, and as a result, the amount of lunches we’re selling is more than double than it was last year.”

Typically, once a school district hits a threshold of $150,000 with a vendor, in terms of the National School Lunch Program, they have to bid that contract out. The District was not required to take similar action last year.

“We’re going to hit that threshold before the year’s end, so we have to go through the bid process mid-year,” Groos said.

The District received one bid for the contract; Quest Food Management Services won.

Beginning April 1, the cost increases from $3.25 to $3.33 per box lunch.

Students who qualify for a free lunch under the National School Lunch Program receive the lunch free, according to federal law. The federal government reimburses the school district $3.31 for every free lunch served. Students who qualify for a reduced lunch under the National School Lunch Program receive the lunch for $0.40, according to federal law. The federal government reimburses the school district $2.91 for every reduced lunch served. Students who do not qualify for a free or reduced lunch under the National School Lunch Program receive the lunch for $3.00, according to Board of Education approval. The federal government reimburses the school district $0.39 for every full price lunch served.

Groos said at the end of this year, the District will be able to reevaluate lunch prices for next year, and the Board of Education will vote on it at its June meeting.

In a related development, a motion was passed to approve a one-year contract extension with Quest Food Management Services.

The cost to participate in the National School Lunch Program for the 2018-2019 school year will remain at $3.33 per box lunch.

Round it up

A brief recap of action and discussion at a March 21 regular meeting of the New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education:

  • A motion was passed to authorize the renewal of a nighttime custodial services contract in the amount of $830,260 with ABM Industry Groups. The base service percent increase for the deal is based on this year’s 2.1 percent consumer price index, or the rate of inflation.

  • A motion was passed to secure a three-year contract with Commercial Electronic Services for an annual amount $22,160, or a five percent increase over the prior agreement.

  • In accordance with E-Rate program requirements, D122 officials acknowledged the District’s internet safety policies, rules, and procedures. This federal program helps pay for about 40 percent of costs for certain data services, as well as other technology infrastructure items.

  • The superintendent told D122 officials that they are to review information on bonds at their April meeting. The prospect of considering bonds was previously discussed at a strategic planning session held earlier this year.

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