By Michael Kloppenburg
The A-C Central school board discussed expanding curriculum at their Dec. 18 meeting using online courses offered by the Illinois Virtual School program. Superintendent Tim Page said that about 12-15 percent of Illinois schools currently offer virtual school courses.
IVS is an online program from the Illinois State Board of Education that partners with school districts. The districts retain control of what their students can do in the IVS.
Page said that IVS offers a number of advanced placement classes. The board discussed the advantages and potential problems. The AP course offer the opportunity for college credit but teacher Jeff Pfaffe pointed out one of the potential problems for the students is that the student’s success is measured entirely on a single test that Pfaffe described as “difficult” at the end of the course and that determines whether the student gets college credit.
Another issue the board had to deal with is that IVS courses are expensive and the board spent a considerable amount of time discussing how to reduce the financial burden on families. Board member Garrett Savage said that any course students took in IVS was one more course they would not have to pay even more for in college.
The board approved the 2013 tax levy. The board will levy about $2.4 million. Page said equalized assessed values in the county were up, particularly for farmland. Page said the levy includes a tax rate decrease of 15 cents.
The district received $11,500 in county sales tax in October.
Page reported that the Robert Miller group had completed its grant application feasibility study of A-C. Page said the study concluded A-C was a “strong candidate” to get $100,000-$500,000 in grants over the next two years.
Technology Supervisor Brenden DeJaynes reported the process of converting physical servers to virtual servers is going well. He also said that with technology upgrades he will do over break students should see a ten-fold increase in connection speed.
The board passes a motion to write a letter of withdrawal from the Springfield Area Purchasing Co-op. Page believes the board could get a better deal on food supplies from Hospital Product Services based on the experience the New Berlin school district has had with them. The board made their approval contingent on the school’s attorney making sure there were no contract problems with withdrawing immediately.
The board passed a motion to destroy executive session minutes more than 18 months old.
Students-of-the-month for November were recognized at he meeting. Braden Eilers was middle school student-of-the-month and Cerys Boston was high school student-of-the-month.