Tough Year EPS superintendent warns
Tough Year EPS superintendent warns

ELGIN - Virtual schooling, student vaping and a drop in general revenue were items discussed as Elgin Public School board members prepare for the upcoming school year.

All Elgin Public School Board members were in attendance at the school board meeting this past Thursday, which marked the last meeting before the school year began on August 19.

GENERAL FUND REPORT

The meeting began with an overview of the general fund report which estimated a total of $2.2 million for the school year. However, due to the coronavirus shut- down, general revenue collections came in at a reduction of 10%.

Nate Meraz, superintended of Elgin Public Schools, said the decrease in general revenue is being watched very closely, but it might be a tough year. Nate said it’s possible some kids may need to leave the district for online schooling, but Elgin schools will continue to grow.

Nate positively mentioned plus 46 students registered for enrollment this school year. However, Elgin Public Schools are providing both virtual and traditional schooling options for the Fall semester. Thus far, 450 out of 2,400 students have signed up for online schooling through the Elgin Public School program.

Although it is difficult to determine what this school year is going to look like for students and faculty, Nate said contingency plans are in place should there be a larger than expected spike in COVID-19.

“We feel everybody’s anxieties and we share them,” Nate said. “We feel every- body’s fears and we share them. It’s just how you react to those fears and what you do. That’s how life goes.”

E-CIGARETTES

Another issue discussed during the meeting was join- ing the mass class-action lawsuit against Juul (e-cigarettes). Last year, the first wrongful death lawsuit was reportedly filed against Juul Labs, Inc. with the claim that its advertising targets minors.

“I do know that its [juuling] created tremendous problems and harm in schools and teenagers,” Nate said. “There’s now close to 50 schools that have jumped in [to join the lawsuit] and we stand to lose nothing.”

RESIGNATIONS, NEW HIRES

Closing out the meeting was the resignation acceptance of six Elgin school faculty members and the new employment of three faculty members.

Elgin Public Schools will be saying goodbye to Jalyn Belletto, paraprofessional, Zack Hoeneke, custodian, Malynda Taliaferro, teacher assistant, Jesse Estrada, bus driver, Doneta Spomer and Carolina Rodriguez, school cooks.

Despite the uncertainty this school year will bring, Nate said everything is always available to make decisions and the school board is not locked in on anything.

“I think as much as you owe people protection, you owe healthy people the opportunity to press on,” he said.