News Report Staff

Some of the youngest students in Effingham Unit 40 School District are hitting high notes in music classes this school year.

South Side School music teacher Austin Stout presented several videos Monday night to Effingham School Board members, showing how a teaching effort called Carl Orff Schuwerk Method is getting first and second graders involved and gaining an appreciation of music and its creation. Tapings of exercises in reacting to beats and sounds showed how students were enjoying themselves in the classes.

Stout, who is in his second year at South Side, said this teaching technique combines speech, movement and drama to develop collaboration, critical thinking, communication and other skills, while showing that “music is for everyone.” Best of all, South Side teachers and staff have noticed music class is becoming a favorite time for many students.

School board president Jeff Michael recalled a few years ago there was a discussion on whether to keep a music instructor at South Side.

“This is the fruit of the money spent for that position,” Michael said.

Most of Monday’s board meeting dealt with taxes, an audit and progress on different improvement projects in the school district.

The board approved a tentative tax levy that proposes a 5.21 percent increase over last year’s tax extension for the school district. The board is considering the levy totaling $15,712,140. Equalized Assessed Valuation is a major factor in determining a levy on taxable property within the school district, but Assistant Superintendent Jason Fox explained all the figures are not yet in on assessments applied to taxes paid in 2018.

Once again, the school district must conduct an estimated guess on EAV to set the levy.

“This is based on assumption,” Fox explained. The district does not want to shortchange its potential tax revenues by underestimating the EAV figure for next year.

With a tax levy set at more than 5 percent from last year, the board will conduct a Truth in Taxation hearing at 6 p.m. on November 13 in the school board meeting room. Residents can ask questions on the levy at that time.

A summary of the audit of Unit 40 finances over the past fiscal year showed a “clean bill of health” by the auditing firm of Glass and Shuffett, of Centralia.

Unit 40 has a lot of workers off the ground this fall with one roofing project completed at East Side School and another set to start at West Side. Work has also progressed on the tennis court renovation at the high school campus. Fox said the work so far showed how much water was pooling under the old courts.

Completion might be delayed on the new courts with moderate temperatures required to complete the resurfacing. So the final work might not be completed until next spring unless above-average temperatures are ahead over coming weeks.

Superintendent Mark Doan offered congratulations to the EHS tennis, golf and football teams for their success in both the regular season and advancement into the postseason competitions.

On personnel matters, the board hired Lilianna Fulk and Jeff Borries, respectively, as custodians at South Side and Effingham Junior High schools. Sue Kinkelaar was transferred as a 3-hour cashier at Effingham High School. New volunteers are David Dugan, as high school assistant swimming coach, and Phil Hull, as eighth grade boys basketball coach. Resignations were also accepted from Benjamin Sporleder as EJHS custodian and Michelle Hinterscher as eighth grade boys track coach.

In other business, the enrollment report shows Effingham school district has 32 fewer students than one year ago.

There were also several EHS students attending the board meeting to observe for a history class.