By Steve Robinson | June 13, 2018 - 10:19 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – Having lost Jim Hayek, Jr. off Normal-based Unit 5 School District Board as of the end of last month, the district is currently in search of his replacement. The procedure for finding someone to replace him should cause Board members to become quick studies with the procedure after hearing that Joseph Cleary will step down soon as a Board member, as well.

During the Board member comments section toward the end of the meeting, Cleary, who teaches construction management at Illinois State University, announced he had been offered a similar position at California Polytechnic State University, known as Cal-Poly, in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Cleary did not state when he would submit his resignation from the Board.

But when Cleary formally turns in his resignation, under State law, the Board will have 45 days from the date the resignation takes effect to appoint a successor. Also, that person would have to run for election the spring of the next election cycle. The Board is currently going through applications from citizens wishing to replace Hayek.

Cleary was appointed to the Board following the resignation of Denise Schuster in spring 2016. Schuster, an employee of State Farm Insurance, as is Hayek, exited the Board because of a job transfer to Dallas, Texas for her husband. In April 2016, Cleary was sworn in to complete Schuster’s term, and successfully ran for a term of his own the following spring.

“Unit 5 is still a great district,” Cleary said in answer to a media question as to whether the State’s witnessing an exodus of residents partly because its financial status, had anything to do with his own departure. He said the State’s situation had nothing to do with his own exit, and that “I was presented with a teaching opportunity on the west coast. My family loves it here. We have family here, so we will visit as often as we can.” Cleary and his wife, Karmon, have a boy who will enter 4th grade and a girl who will enter 6th grade in the fall.

Amended Budget Approved: Prior to Cleary’s announcement, Board members conducted business which included unanimously approving an amended budget for the coming school year. The district will have $169 million with which to operate. The district is looking at each of the operating funds the district has – Education, Operations and Maintenance, Transportation, and Working Cash – having some surplus money on hand to the tune of $2.3 million, according to the report presented to Board members by Business Manager Marty Hickman.

There is still some money yet to come in, Hickman told Board members, as Unit 5 is expecting roughly $2.7 million in payments for Special Education and Transportation due the district from the State.

Board Votes For District To Join Insurance Co-Op: In addition, Board members unanimously approved a resolution agreeing to become part of Suburban School Cooperative Insurance Pool (SSCIP) for its insurance needs. SSCIP operates financially on an annual calendar whereas the district operates on a fiscal calendar. As a result, Hickman said, Unit 5 would need to pay for its membership for the second half of this calendar year as well as for all of 2019 to start that relationship. After that, beginning with the start of 2020, Unit 5 would pay an annual amount to SSCIP.

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