Held in the Dwight Common School District Library On Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 6:00 p.m.

Board President Nick Stipanovich called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

PRESENT: Lori Bowman; Mark Christenson; Marc Ellis; Jaime Mallaney; Nick Stipanovich; Chuck Trainor

ABSENT: Tara Hansen

Also in attendance: Josh DeLong, Superintendent; Deb Conroy, Secretary; Julie Schultz, Principal; Micheal Bennett-Tejes, Asst. Principal/AD


Mrs. Schultz announced that Jeanette McCloskey had been chosen as the Redbird of the Month.


Lauren Cotter and Sara Hurt were in attendance to comment on the Board’s decision to not allow home-schooled students to play sports and to follow their Board policy regarding this issue.


A thank-you note was received from Black Hawk East College for the donation received at the passing of James Golby, Kathy Stewart’s father.


Mrs. Thompson was in attendance to give the DEA Report for this month. Mrs. Schultz’ report stands as read.
Mr. Bennett-Tejes’ report stands as read.

Mr. DeLong reported that we have been approved for the new Maintenance Grant for this year. He originally requested for phase II of the plumbing and infrastructure project. After the issues with the roof he wanted to amend the grant to help pay for roof repairs; however, the state will not allow that to be amended. He did state that the roof would need to be addressed as soon as possible. He wants to get quotes for repairing and replacing. He notes that the bid threshold is now $35,000 and he hopes that we could get temporary repairs under that threshold. He also noted that if we are looking into a pitched roof, which would be the best solution, we also are looking at a possible future addition. If we did that, it would need to be tied into the pitched roof and so it may be that we have to patch for now and look at a longer term more sustainable solution in the future.

Mr. DeLong also brought up the gravel issue around the circle drive. He thinks it’s a safety issue for students and staff and wants to remove the gravel and replace it with concrete. After speaking to a local contractor, they felt that the grade would allow for drainage into the grass with no issues. He will have Jack Connor obtain bids to move forward with this project.


Mr. DeLong reported on the following issues:

  1. 1)  Private Solar Farms—Mr. DeLong noted that several local private solar farms are going up and he has been asked to write letters of support for them with the county. He stated that one farm to the south of town will bring approximately $6,500 to the district in lieu of the approximately $1,000 that the farm ground brings in. He said that most of these projects will not make a large difference to our tax base.
  2. 2)  Heritage Prairie Meeting—Livingston County will have 71 turbines in this project and that would mean approximately $877,000 per year of tax money to the district for a 30-year agreement. Heritage estimates that they should be online for the 2026 tax year although Mr. DeLong thinks that is early.
  3. 3)  ISBE Literacy Plan—Although ISBE has been pushing this plan, it is not mandated. We will look into this over the next year.
  4. 4)  2023-24 Updated Calendar—due to the fact that we have used 4 emergency days this year we needed to move the end of the quarters (to March 14th and May 29th) and therefore graduation will need to be moved to May 23rd.

a) Emergency Days vs E-Learning Days—as a district we chose to use snow days for our emergency days even though we have an E-Learning plan in place. Because we have that plan in place, after we use our 5 emergency days, we have no choice but to use E-Learning for any further days that we would need to call off school. That plan is set to expire at the end of this year. Mr. DeLong is in support of letting that plan expire. He does not wish to use E-Learning for emergency days.

Moved by Ellis, seconded by Christenson, to go into Executive Session at 6:25 p.m. to discuss the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees of the public body or legal counsel for the public body, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee of the public body or against legal counsel for the public body to determine its validity; According to Section 2, subsection c, #1 of the Illinois Open Meetings Act; also, to discuss collective negotiating matters between the public body and its employees or their representatives, or deliberations concerning salary schedules for one or more classes of employees; According to Section 2, subsection c, #2 of the Illinois Open Meetings Act; and to discuss student disciplinary cases; According to Section 2, subsection c, #9 of the Illinois Open Meetings Act. Roll call. All voted aye. Motion carried.

Moved by Ellis, seconded by Mallaney, to exit Executive Session at 7:22 p.m. Voice vote. All voted aye. Motion carried.


Items for consideration on this month’s Consent Agenda are as follows:

  1. 1)  Minutes of the January 10, 2024 Regular Board Meeting
  2. 2)  Bills
  3. 3)  Approve Resignation, Deb Erschen (Wolf), Custodian
  4. 4)  Approve Resignation, Amie Thompson, Math Interventionist/STEM
  5. 5)  Approve employment, Haydee Wiles, Substitute Nurse
  6. 6)  Approve Employment, Josh Rupprecht, Substitute Teacher
  7. 7)  Approve Employment, Lindsey Muzzarelli, Reading Specialist


Mr. DeLong presented the contract for translation services with Western Avenue Community Center.

Mr. DeLong held discussion with the Board about setting the date for graduation to May 23rd, which is a week later than planned originally. This was due to the use of 4 emergency days earlier this year, and the fact that winter is not yet over and there could potentially be more. If we went with the originally proposed date, that would mean one less week of learning for our students to get through their curriculum. Mr. DeLong feels that holding graduation one week later is more beneficial to our students and he is requesting moving graduation to that date. Each year the calendar is set with a tentative 8th grade graduation date. The board makes the final decision in February or March of each year based on the use of emergency days. We have not had to use emergency days in several years.

Mr. DeLong presented the proposed 2024-25 school calendar for approval. School would begin on August 12th with 2 Teacher Institutes and a SIP day.

Mr. DeLong presented the proposal for a new 3-year contract for Assistant Principal for Micheal Bennett-Tejes.
This contract would be for 210 days per year, with similar benefits to other professional staff.

Mr. DeLong presented the proposal for a new 3-year contract for Athletic Director Jacob Scheuer. This contract represents 40% of Scheuer’s total salary and benefits.

This contract would be for 220 days per year, with similar benefits to other professional staff.

Mr. DeLong presented the proposed 3-year collective bargaining agreement with the DEA for school years 2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27 for approval. He noted that the DEA has already ratified the contract.

Moved by Ellis, seconded by Trainor, to adjourn the meeting at 7:36 p.m. Voice vote. All voted aye. Motion carried.