High school board: 2022-2023 budget approved

At its monthly meeting Monday, the Rochelle Township High School Board of Education held a public hearing for and unanimously approved its 2022-2023 budget.

Presentation made on new teachers and staff support

ROCHELLE — At its monthly meeting Monday, the Rochelle Township High School Board of Education held a public hearing for and unanimously approved its 2022-2023 budget.

District Business Manager Kevin Dale made a presentation to the board on details of the budget. The budget has been on display since July 18 and it was reviewed at the board's Aug. 15 budget workshop. Dale will watch expenditures and revenues throughout the year and report back to the board if an amendment is needed later in the fiscal year.

The projected total revenue for 2022-2023 is $19,908,501 with total projected expenditures of $19,904,829 for a projected total surplus of $3,672.

New teachers

During his monthly report at the meeting, RTHS Principal Chris Lewis introduced 12 new staff members that the school has this year that include Anna Adolph (English teacher), Marshall Basler (athletic trainer), Max Basler (special education teacher), Anna Birsa (Spanish teacher), Nicole Canfield (math teacher), Anna Criswell (science teacher), Cory Ellis (music teacher), Ashley Lawrenz (school nurse), Haleigh Nelson (dance coach), Justin Otte (science teacher), Rachel Plock (math teacher) and Keaton Shumard (band). 

Following the introductions, Lewis discussed support systems put in place for new teachers. RTHS has a high number of recently-hired staff members. Over Lewis's six years as principal, he's hired 40 percent of RTHS's current staff members. 

"That's a lot," Lewis said. "We just had a lot of retirements taking place. We try to provide tons of support for them. It's a tough job and there's all sorts of new requirements. We put some things in place years ago and we've added to it.” 

Support in place for new RTHS teachers includes a mentor program, new teacher orientation, professional development collaboration meetings, a teacher resource page, an open-door teacher program where staff can observe other teachers, an evaluation system and instructional coaching.

"We put these things in place to make it a great place to work," Lewis said. "We want them to stay long. There's a lot of teacher burnout and people getting out of the business. We want to provide as much help for them as we can so that doesn't happen."

Homecoming

Lewis discussed homecoming week at RTHS taking place this week. The parade will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday and begin downtown and end at Tilton School. Afterwards, the pep rally and homecoming coronation will take place outside on the football field, as it did last year due to COVID-19 precautions.

"We really liked it," Lewis said. "It was 10 times better and there's more space. If it rains, we'll move it back inside. We got positive feedback on it last year. The powder puff football game will follow afterwards."

The homecoming dance will take place inside the RTHS commons as it did pre-pandemic. Last year, the dance took place outside.

Personnel

The board unanimously approved personnel changes including the resignation of Bruce Anderson (girls track coach) and the employment of Holly Karner (junior class advisor), Josie Kuss (shared district business office administrative assistant), James Rodriguez (substitute bus driver) and Chester Smith (substitute bus driver).

The retirement of Athletic Director's Secretary Ronda Poliska was unanimously approved effective Dec. 31, 2022. Poliska has been in her position for 20 years. Future transfers were approved including Deb O'Brien (attendance secretary to athletic director's secretary) and Teresa Ricketts (main office receptionist to attendance secretary).

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