At their regular meeting in August, the District 8 School Board voted to appoint Angie Judd as the newest school board member to replace Alan Stall, who retired earlier this summer.
Judd, who has served on the Fairbury PTA prior to joining the board, will serve the remaining three and a half years of Stall’s term. Chairperson of the District 8 School Board Vickie Banahan administered the oath of office to Judd, and welcomed her to the board.
Also during the meeting, the board heard a presentation from Superintendent Stephen Grizzle about the district’s latest test scores. He noted a lot of improvement among many of the classes. He hopes to continue working hard in the district to assess standards and continue to make improvements in all classes.
“We had really good math results, we had outstanding science results,” Grizzle said. “All in all, Fairbury Public Schools did a really good job last year with their assessments. We really appreciate all of the hard work.”
In 2017, all 11th graders were required to take the ACT, which was a 60 percent increase in the number of juniors taking the ACT at Fairbury. Grizzle stated that initially he was nervous that the composite score would be roughly 17, but the class exceeded his expectations.
“We did really well,” said Grizzle. “I can’t overstate the significance of us going from testing only 40 percent of our kids to testing 100 percent. That’s a huge jump! So, when I was opening up the ACT results, I was worried what it would be. I was really ecstatic that it came back as 19.6. That was huge! I really tip my hat off to the high school staff and to our kids. They stayed an hour and a half after school was dismissed on Friday working with our teachers. That was amazing.”
Another issue discussed at the school board meeting was why the football team is having fundraisers when their equipment is supplied by the school. Head Football Coach Kam Lenhart was present at the meeting to discuss the decision.
“There were some concerns brought up today on some rules put into place with fundraising,” Lenhart said. “I wanted to come and talk because I’ve heard some concerns from the board, I guess, in particular, with the way the football fundraiser has been ran. There is a reason why everything we do what we do, and, in our opinion, we believe it’s a fair system to help fundraise for our team. It’s something that’s necessary to get the extra things we would like.
“The school does a great job providing us with the proper equipment to play the game,” Lenhart continued. “There’s nothing about that. There’s some new things out there to help make practice safer, particularly with all the concussion stuff with tackling, and there’s things we know the school can’t afford. So the fundraising really focuses on that.”
Lenhart noted that some of the funds raised by the team are also used to provide a meal for team members at games played far away from home. He stated that there are conditioning incentives for the students to fundraise.
“The goal is to reach 20 (cards sold per player), but we have other checkpoints at eight, 10, 15 and 20,” said Lenhart. “That’s really what we’ve seen help improve our sales is when those incentives are put in place.”
If the students sell 20 cards, they are allowed to keep their team travel bag when they graduate. He stated that players who don’t raise enough funds are required to go through more conditioning, and that they will not be able to partake in team meals from restaurants at away games—they will receive a sack lunch prepared by the school.
“They still get fed after games,” Lenhart said. “To me it’s not fair for someone who’s raised 20 cards, compared to someone who didn’t try, to get the same thing. They still get fed.”
Board Member Jody Starr brought attention to students and families affected by poverty, noting that sometimes students are not able to fundraise.
“I’ve always thought that maybe a person doesn’t sell not because they’re being indignant and not wanting to, but because their families and the circle around them don’t have the funds to support them. It’s one of those situations,” said Starr.
Lenhart responded that there has been no correlation between players with impoverished backgrounds selling less than players associated with wealth.
“Fundraising is something we have to do,” Lenhart said. “The only concern I can see is if there are no incentives, then we’re not going to have the push or drive to get that fundraising.”