Mohawk board OKs new dress code

SYCAMORE — Mohawk Board of Education faced the issue of dress code at Monday’s meeting.

Alexander Lersch, acting president of Mohawk Student Council, presented to the board a petition with the signatures of 221 students in grades 7-11 asking that the proposed dress code eliminate the prohibition on shorts.

Three teachers who served on the dress code committee spoke in favor of the proposed code. The development of the policy was the culmination of a community-wide survey and a committee comprised of teachers, students and board members. Teachers indicated the school needed a dress code that’s practical and enforceable. Determining the acceptable length of shorts has been difficult. They also cited that the building is air conditioned and climate controlled.

After a brief discussion, the board approved the new dress code as presented. They agreed the most compelling reason was enforcement.

Superintendent Ken Ratliff announced his intention to retire effective Jan. 1. He has completed 30 years in education with eight years at Mohawk.

Treasurer Rhonda Feasel reported it is necessary to transfer $4,820 from the General Fund to the Cafeteria Fund to cover bad debts. The superintendent explained he does pursue those parents who have outstanding balances.

Following board policy, the board allocated $200,000 from income tax receipts to the rainy day fund and $250,000 from the General Fund to the Permanent Improvement Fund.

A five-year contract was approved for Feasel. The contract includes the same salary increase and fringe benefits as the classified and certified personnel.

Board member Kathy Koehler asked that the district not charge instructional fees for grades K-12. The rest of the board agreed. The cost to the General Fund will be approximately $34,000. Class dues, technology fees and parking permits are to be collected.

The board accepted the proposal from UIS Insurance to provide liability, vehicle and property insurance to the district at a cost of $36,128.

The drug testing policy was approved by the board as well as the athletic department student handbook. They may be reviewed on the district website. The initial hearing on the junior/high school handbook was read.

The board took action to:

• Approve supplemental contracts and summer school teachers.

• Hire Craig Richardson as bus driver and custodian and Melissa Thomas as elementary multi-handicap teacher.

• Approve a contract with Great Lakes Biomedical to conduct drug and alcohol testing.

• Approve the senior class trip to Orlando and an over-night trip for the band and choir.

• Contract with Julian and Grube Inc. for the next three years to prepare the district’s financial statements at a cost of $2,100 per year.

• Approve the 2019 budget for Mohawk Community Library.

• Contract with Seneca County General Health District for school nurse services at the cost of $47,075.

• Set 2019 graduation ceremony for May 19.