Members of the NCHS Hornets Varsity Football Team came to the NCHS Board meeting held on Monday, May 22, in order to offer a statement of support for coach Stephen Kozuszek, who had not yet been hired at that point as the head football coach. Kozuszek’s hiring was announced by the board at a special meeting on Wednesday, May 24.
By Alex Haglund
The regular monthly meeting held on Monday, May 22 started off a very busy week for the Nashville Community High School Board. The Monday meeting had the year’s last amended budget brought before the board, the teacher’s union aired grievances against the district superintendent, a special meeting was held after which the board hired new football and boys basketball head coaches, and Sunday, May 28 was graduation.
Those awaiting news on Monday regarding who the school board would choose to hire as the new Hornets football coach and new boys basketball coach had to wait a little longer – that decision was held for a special meeting of the school board on the evening of Wednesday, May 24, following which the board announced that they would be hiring Stephen Kozuszek as the head football coach and Wayne Harre as the head boys basketball coach.
That special meeting was called to order, then the board immediately entered closed session to discuss personnel issues and to interview those who were being considered for the two coaches positions.
At the Monday meeting, a statement was made in favor of Kozuszek though, during the time for public comment when four Hornets football players, with Kyler Klingenberg acting as their spokesman, asked the board to hire Kozuszek.
For more on Kozuszek and Harre and their new positions in Hornets sports, please see “Stephen Kozuszek Gets Hornets Football Head Coaching Gig”, online here, and “Harre To Coach Boys Basketball” online here – both stories can also be found on Page A1 of the May 31, 2017 edition of The Nashville News.
District Superintendent Ernie Fowler brought forward the final tentative amended budget of the school year. The budget will be available to view for the next month, and then there will be a budget hearing and final approval at the June meeting of the school board, on Monday, June 26, a few days before the end of the district’s fiscal year.
At the beginning of the year, Fowler told the board that he had projected an overall budget deficit of $425,698, due to late and skipped payments by the state of Illinois. Currently, the situation is slightly better than that.
“I’m going to project that we are going to come in at about $339,000 for the deficit,” said Fowler.
“We are still waiting for $54,000, almost $55,000 to go into the ed fund,” Fowler said. “I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.”
The district’s transportation fund has been hit hard to. “I initially projected about $81,000 in deficit,” Fowler stated, but said that as of right now, the total projected deficit there is closer to $160,000.
“They have not yet even vouchered the last $57,000 of the year,” Fowler continued. “We’ll be lucky to get that, and if we do, I’ll adjust that budget in June.”
The sections of this story below this point were slated for inclusion into the May 31, 2017 edition of The Nashville News but were omitted.
The Nashville News regrets the error.
Teachers’ Statement Against Fowler
A significant number of teachers and members of the community were present at the Monday meeting of the school board – earlier in the day, the Nashville Education Association, the teachers’ union, had delivered notice of a vote of “no confidence” in Superintendent Fowler to Fowler and to the school board, and following the meeting, they had delivered a press release to The Nashville News.
The NEA’s statement, Fowler’s column regarding it and other comments were published in the May 24 edition of The Nashville News. The NCHS Board also released a comment, voicing their support for Fowler, but it was not received in time for last week’s edition of the paper. Instead, it was published online and is in this edition of the paper on page A6.
On Monday, May 24, the Nashville Education Association, which represents NCHS faculty, released a statement that at their May 9 meeting, their members took a vote and voiced an opinion of no confidence in District 99 Superintendent Ernie Fowler.
The letter, which is reprinted on Page A6 of the May 24 edition of The Nashville News and online states that NCHS has seen “a drastic loss of vision and direction” under Fowler’s leadership. It states that continuing under Fowler, will lead to, “harm to our district, our students, and our members’ working conditions.”
Fowler also issued a rebuttal of the letter in his Superintendent’s Column on Page A7 of the May 24 edition of The Nashville News and online here.
Following the release of the statement by the NEA, the NCHS School Board released a statement of their own, this one in support of Fowler. This was not received in time to be printed in the May 24 edition of The Nashville News, but can be found online here.
Personnel action made after the Monday evening meeting included the board:
• Accepting the resignation of Tim Kuhn.
• Reclassification of bookkeeper – Stephanie Bauza has been reclassified, she is now administrative assistant and bookkeeper.
• Employed Freshman volleyball coach Pam Kellerman.
• Employed volunteer assistant cheer coach Justine Lamke.
• Employed Tiffany Lehde as the district nurse.
• Voted to reemploy all of the spring coaches.
• Voted to adopt the educational support salary schedule.
Other action approved at the regular meeting of the school board including approving changes to the district’s student handbook.
The changes were presented by Principal Brian Pasero and are based on the recommendations laid forward by the Illinois Principals’ Association sample handbook.
The athletic participation policy, which limits sports that students can take part in to avoid conflicts, has been tabled for the time being, in order to allow NCHS coaches and new NCHS Athletic Director Alicia Heggemeier to iron things out before anything gets codified.
Title I Plan approved. The board made a statement of approval for the district’s title I plan, and then made a different motion which allowed Title I programming to be applied school-wide.
Fowler told the board that the Title I plan and the approval of school-wide Title I programming had to be approved by the board, which would then allow Fowler to draft plans, put in the applications for those plans to the state of Illinois, and then tweak those plans depending on what the state’s requirements were, finally resubmitting for state approval after everything has been put into place.
The board made a statement on the flags that were put up for the district, clarifying that the Nashville American Legion purchased the center flags, and that Dan and Carol Heggemeier purchased the outer flags, the poles and the lighting.