Present: Amy Grau, Jeff Schulte, Lyle Stauder, Dr, Derrald Taylor, Dr. Michael Zost, Trudy Diepholz, Sharon Wimmer
Absent: Tom Crane, Van Stone, Richard Schrumpf
Guests: Marjorie Olson, Dr. Robert Kilbury, Joe Lanier, Carmen Dennis, Janet McGovern, Kelsey Thompson, Lisa McDaniel, Chris Clark, Araceli Avina, Rick Canode, Paul Drake, Todd Williams, Marsha Schoth, Jane Breen, Reggie Clinton
I. Roll Call/Introductions
Dr. Michael Zost, Chairperson, called the meeting to order. Each person present introduced themselves.
II. Approval of Minutes/Adoption of Agenda
Members were asked to review the minutes from the May 9th meeting for any changes or additions. There was a change made to the information on Sharon Wimmer. Ms. Wimmer was not employed by the Indiana School for the Blind, but had done an internship and provided in-services there. Sandi Dorst was added to the paragraph stating outgoing members. Changes have been made. A motion and second was made to accept the minutes with changes made.
III. Student Council Report - Mrs. McGovern
At this time Student Council has not met. However, once they do the information will be available on the ISVI website.
IV. Old Business
Nominating, Membership & Bylaws - Dr. Michael Zost
Bylaws and Constitution:
§ There was a motion and second to accept the new Bylaws. A copy will be given to Flora to be put on the ISVI web site.
Nominating of Members:
§ There was a motion and second to nominate Chris Clark (ISU), Lisa McDaniel and Kelsey Thompson as new Advisory Board members.
§ Joe Lanier asked if a resume was required to be a board member? Dr. Zost replied that this is not always the case. Mr. Lanier would like to recommend an ISVI 2005 alumni member Araceli Avina to sit on the Advisory Council as the representative from the ISVI Alumni Association. Araceli is attending Elden Community College with a major in psychology. Araceli will have transportation to attend Advisory Council meetings. She will require Braille print. There was a motion and second to nominate Araceli as a new Advisory Board member.
§ Addressing nominations for officers, Dr. Zost asked if there would be a problem with him serving as the chair again this term. There was a motion and second that Dr. Zost continue to serve as the chair. Dr. Taylor was voted as the vice chair and Ms. Grau as secretary.
Low Vision Clinic -Equipment
equipment for Low Vision is either broken or in need of updating. Dr. Zost has
been working on getting new kits for Low Vision. A quote for a new unit of low
vision diagnostic equipment/devices will be submitted to Richard Schrumpf of the
Lions Foundation to look for funding for this unit. In addition, the Blind
, and Local Lions clubs have supported the Low
Vision Clinic when there has been a need.
The Blind Children’s Foundation
§ The Blind Children’s Foundation recently supported a trip for all students to Knights Action Park. In addition, a donation was made to the Teen Center. Ms. Grau added that this was a great way to start the school year and the students had a great time. Dr. Taylor and Mr. Clinton tried to get SECA to include the Blind Children’s Foundation as an option for State employees to make payroll deducted charitable contributions, but were unsuccessful. After much research and trying to get even the local agencies to include ISVI it too was denied. Dr. Kilbury thought maybe the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities of Illinois could help us out. This group does take a 5% off the top of all donations. Dr. Kilbury will meet with Mr. Clinton to see if there is a way we can get the help so that employees can donate to The Blind Children’s Foundation. Ms. Wimmer asked if the Blind Children’s Foundation had a web site and Dr. Taylor replied that it has not been set up yet.
Superintendent - Mr. Reggie Clinton
Mr. Clinton gave a PowerPoint presentation with these topics being covered:
§ New Employees
Partnership with Willmette School
§ Department of Homeland Security Grant
Partnership with Bureau of Blind
§ Honorary Chair for Chicago Walk
§ Parent Infant
§ Summer Curriculum Work
§ Braille Car Rally
§ Fire Code Violation Building Work
§ Direction of School
§ Birth to 3 and O&M staff
§ Two week summer program
§ Outline for summer camp
§ Deaf & Blind retreat
§ Summer Camp
§ Major Projects completed at ISVI
§ Proposed Budget for 2008-2009
§ Low Vision Clinic-Doc Brewer
§ Advocacy for the School
Questions & Answers:
The question was brought up regarding if there was supervision after 8:00 p.m. Ms. Breen replied that there is an overnight supervisor on campus along with Mr. Clinton, Becky Stevens and herself, are on call 24-7. Ms. Breen explained that this is also all part of Homeland Security Plan, which toured campus this summer. Both ISD & ISVI are applying for a grant that will enable for the purchase of more security equipment to keep our students and staff safe. Ms. Grau asked if walkers from the neighborhood are welcomed to walk on campus? Ms. Breen explained they are welcomed to walk if Mr. Clinton has approved them. Dr. Zost inquired if ISVI has regular drills on campus. He also requested an update if ISVI is taping phone calls that are coming in and going out. ISVI does have evacuation, fire, earth quake and tornadoes drills on a regular basis. The phone system that we have here at ISVI is very outdated. We have been granted E-rate funds to upgrade the system once funds are released. ISVI has also installed a new software system called Skyward, which enables supervisors to access student’s records from home when needed. No phone calls are being taped as of this time. This was only a suggestion after a preliminary discussion with State Police representatives last school year.
Dr. Zost asked about the computer lease and where ISVI was with that. Mr. Clinton explained that Dr. Kilbury’s department is covering the cost for the computer rentals for ISVI. Dr. Zost asked if we are looking to the community for help to support special projects at ISVI. He feels that the GATES program is a great start.
Mr. Clinton has been checking into the price of getting World Book here at ISVI to be installed on computers. This could also be accessed from home once we have established a password system. The cost would be around $300.00. ISVI Alumni is checking to see if they would be able to help ISVI out with this. ISVI Alumni presented Dr. Zost with two checks. A check in the amount of $1,500 was give for playground equipment and a $500 check for the student activity fund. Dr. Zost thanked the Alumni association for their very generous donation.
Ms. Grau has been working with the local movie owners to see if they would be able to get the movie Blind Sight in Jacksonville. This would be a one-night previewing and a fundraiser. Once she has all the information, she will share it with Mr. Clinton. Ms. Grau also asked members to remember that ISVI is in need of descriptive videos. Mr. Lanier will send an e-mail out to Alumni members, but did ask what rating would be acceptable. Ms. McGovern indicated that PG13 and no violent videos were acceptable and she would e-mail a list of movies that are acceptable.
Dr. Zost asked about the Vision Walk in Chicago. Mr. Clinton explained that he, Ms. Breen, Mindy Ely, and her husband Lance Ely represented ISVI with Mr. Clinton serving as the Honorary Chair for the event. This event was held at Soldier Field. ISVI did have sponsors for the event. Dr. Zost thought this was a great idea and would like the Advisory Council to be contacted for the next one so members can show their support and participate.
ISVI hosted the Deaf Blind retreat this summer. The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind organized this retreat. This was a hands on experience workshop and interpreter training program. Approximately 50 people attended. ISVI was presented with a proclamation from the group that hangs in the Superintendent’s outer office. They also put together a tactile quilt and presented it to ISVI. The quilt will hang in Unit 2.
Mr. Clinton asked the Advisory Council members to provide him with written feedback about the direction the School should be taking. He requests members submit this prior to the next Advisory meeting. He would also like to see the Advisory Council taking a more active roll as advocates for ISVI. Dr. Zost asked if formal stationary could be created for the Advisory Council so that when members send the letters to legislators they will know what organization is contacting them. He feels that if every member submits a letter instead of a group letter that it makes more of an impression. Dr. Taylor asked for a list of representatives and legislators in order to write these letters.
The question was asked why ISVI chose to lay off two educator aides. Mr. Schulte also would like to know who made the decision. Dr. Kilbury explained that DHS was given instructions to reduce headcount and ISVI was limited to where they could take money. There was also a 3% cut from the schools. Ms. Grau questioned why wasn’t the ORS staff cut, since we have done without the Assistant position for so long, and why was Mr. Alvarado hired. Dr. Kilbury stated that this position is federally funded. DHS sent out 73 layoff notices. They want to decrease the headcount by 700 positions, and so they will not fill 600 jobs due to attrition and eliminating positions. DHS needs to come up with $1.8 million in reductions. The question came up as to why ISD didn’t have any layoffs. Dr. Kilbury replied that ISD has positions that won’t be filled but they have a larger group of students. There will also be a reduction in contracts, extended services, such as substance abuse. DCFS will also take cuts. Mr. Schulte asked why two important positions were cut and what was the decision that lead up to the cut of these two positions. Dr. Kilbury stated that this was a decision that was made by Mr. Clinton with his approval. ISVI is trying to protect our educator positions. Every option has an impact on ISVI but it was felt that this was the best option at this time. Dr. Zost asked Dr. Kilbury if he went to Mr. Clinton about this reduction in headcount and he said yes. Mr. Stauder stated that he felt we have a full maintenance staff and why not lay off one of them, or the school psychologist. He suggested that DHS/ORS could save money by laying off the Educational liaison, Marjorie Olson, since we now have Mr. Alvarado in place. Dr. Kilbury asked that we move on. Ms. Breen explained that our RCW staff used to be at 46 and now we are down to 31. She reminded the Advisory Council that the core mission at ISVI is education. ISVI as a whole is low on staff all over. Mr. Schulte asked if the employees that will be laid off will have bumping rights that is covered by the union. The answer was yes they do. Ms. Grau asked if these positions could be contractual. Mr. Clinton explained that would be a union position and we can’t do that. There is a line in our budget for contractual money, but we aren’t able to do things like that. Last year ISVI had an issue with a personal care attendant helping other students in the classroom and the union brought it up at a meeting. These aides are to no longer help any child but the one they were hired for. To clear things up about personal care attendants, it was shared that the home school district pays for those and not ISVI.
Dr. Zost asked about the Parent Infant Program and how it worked out this year. Mr. Clinton shared that it was cut from 32 families down to 28 families. He stated that last year we were notified that we would no longer be getting the $40,000 we had received in the past and that it was reduced to $18,000. Ms. Grau asked if the 0-3 program could go out into the community and do O&M evaluations. Chris Clark said that is what is planned for next summer.
Dr. Zost asked what Mr. Clinton viewed as the pros and cons to having a year-round school. Mr. Clinton explained that this would be a union issue due to the spreading out of school days through the year. Mr. Stauder stated that there are several ISVI staff members who are 12 month employees who could be cut back to 9 or 10 month positions. This option should be considered to save money and avoid layoffs. We could cut back staff such as the school psychologist, social workers, etc. or staff that aren’t needed during the summer months. Mr. Clinton explained that this would also be a union issue and the only way to do that is when a person leaves that we would re-write the postition to a 9 month as opposed to leaving it at a 12 month position.
Dr. Zost wanted to know where ISVI was with the new windows and when they are planning on completing the project. These funds were left over from the Fair electrical project and should be slated for installation sometime in October with completion by the end of November.
Mr. Clinton asked if there were any questions regarding the written reports from staff sent out prior to the meeting. There were no questions.
VI. Committee Reports:
Public Relations - Trudy Diepholz
Dr. Zost asked if ISVI was planning another legislative breakfast like last year? Ms. McGovern explained that ISAC planned the breakfast and ISVI students did participate. Mr. Stauder asked if anyone knew someone from the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce that could be contacted. Mr. Drake stated he did and would get that information to him.
Mr. Stauder wanted to inform everyone that IPVI would be holding a conference in October in Springfield for families and their children. There will be O & M instructors there and many tours have been planned for this event.
Long Range Planning - Dr. Taylor
No report. Dr. Taylor did mention that he is working on a video project for Low Vision.
VII. New Business
Prior to adjournment the remaining 2009 Advisory Council meeting dates were set for February 20th and May 1st of 2009. A motion to adjourn was made at 1:35 p.m., and a second was made and accepted.