Josie Kneller, Kelsey Murray, MD, Jason Bernard, Cody Rager, Tom (no last name given), and Kshe Bernard each asked the board to continue with the mask mandate. Ms. Kneller and Ms. Bernard also spoke on their concern for recent bigoted comments made by a school board member on social media. Brent Dyche, Jerry Wenger, Lindsey (no last name given), Andrea Roth, Eric Larson, Eric Osterman, Chad Bell, Matt Meyers, and Anonymous (no name submitted) spoke in favor of local control and parental choice of wearing masks in school. The archived meeting may be viewed online at www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/morton-high-school-morton-morton-il/evtfa2a8d7664 at 2:30.
Dr. Hill again explained the Back to School Plan that the Board approved at the August 3 meeting. It is a multi-tier plan, not a mask or not-mask plan. Based on local positivity rates throughout the summer, it was determined the school year could begin at Tier 1, which includes parental choice for masks. Based on transmission rates, the Tiers could change throughout the school year. After the Governor enacted the mandate for masking in schools, Morton School District started the school year requiring masking. The District’s attorney advised to follow the mandate, as an Executive Order is the same as law in Illinois. The district could lose accreditation with the state and recognition with IHSA and IESA. There could also be liability to the district. He added it will be a goal of administration and the board to be looking for opportunities to implement local control. Dr. Hill will accompany several area Superintendents on August 18 to the meeting of the Illinois State Board of Education to speak in favor of local control.
The Board considered a request from a non-resident tuition student during the 2019-2020 school year for a partial refund of the tuition paid. The request was made due to the district having to go to remote learning during the last quarter of the school year due to COVID. The Board asserted the student received the same educational opportunities as all other students, and the cost to educate the student did not change during remote learning. The Board denied the request.
Communication Coordinator Mike Bailey gave a report to the Board of efforts made to communicate to the District community during the past year.
Action Items Approved
- FY22 tentative budget
- Overnight Trips—MHS Madrigal Retreat— East Bay Camp, Hudson, IL; MHS Varsity Wrestling, Mascoutah, IL