Cerro Gordo board discusses expanded co-op

By Christy Jankowski
The Journal-Republican

The Cerro Gordo school board met for their regularly scheduled school board meeting on Nov. 26 and discussed the proposed intergovernmental agreement with Bement for high school volleyball. Currently all high school sports with the exception of volleyball and cross country are combined. Cerro Gordo does not currently have cross country, while Bement does.

“Bement has provided us a proposed intergovernmental agreement for high school volleyball,” said Cerro Gordo High School Principal Jeremy Rodebaugh. “They (the Bement school board) are going to have further discussion at their December board meeting, and beyond as far as junior high co-ops and cross country is considered. But they have nothing to propose at this time as far as those are considered. It sounds like some concerns on their end they would like to discuss further.”

The volleyball proposal seemed similar to the sample agreements that Cerro Gordo proposed last year. Cerro Gordo proposed a two thirds/one third split with Cerro Gordo being the host school. Cerro Gordo would be responsible for two thirds of the financials, practices, games, more and the mascot would remain the Bronco with the colors being orange and blue.

“This is very similar to the sample agreements we did last year,” added Rodebaugh.

There were a few concerns with combining the junior high sports because of a possible lack of supervision. Cerro Gordo ends its school day at 2:56 p.m. with Bement wrapping up around 3:15 p.m.. When there is a practice in Cerro Gordo, there can be a delay between when the school day ends and practice begins.

Board Member Secretary Karen Freese added, “Angie and I went and toured all of the Bement facilities, and that was brought up to us at the end of the tour as well. They had discussed and some concerns especially with younger kids.”

There was also discussion over transportation costs and other possible expenses that may incur such as basketballs.

Superintendent Rob-inson stated they should “continue to converse back and forth. See what if there are any things we can iron out regarding the other co-ops in written form.”

Nothing was formally approved Monday evening regarding the high school volleyball co-op between the two districts, but it will likely be considered in the future.

Substitute teacher pay
As are many districts in the area, Cerro Gordo is facing a shortage of substitute teachers.

“It’s an increasing problem area shortage of substitute teachers. Some mornings one or both of these principles are making double digit and then some phone calls and still not finding anyone. I can’t say throwing ten dollars more will solve the problem, it probably will not,” said Robinson.

Rodebaugh added, “I had two sick teachers and I called 25 people and I didn’t get any of them” on the morning of the board meeting.

Robinson added that the increase of pay might help secure long term subs, stating, “But, as we have things come in where we know in advance.” Adding, “We don’t want to put in position getting turned down for lack of what people are paying.”

Both board members Debbie Greenwood and Tony Piraino stated what about increasing it even more, so it would be higher than other districts. Most districts in the Piatt County area pay around $90-100. Piraino stated, “Well, like Debbie was saying if it’s significantly higher you might open up a whole new pool of teachers that would consider doing it.”

It was decided to raise the pay from $90 to 100 per day. Bement recently raised their sub pay to $100.

Construction update
Robinson reported about construction progress, stating they meet every two weeks with Plocher to discuss the progress. Robinson stated that recently the “most recent developments include opening up the new kitchen prep area back into the new walk in freezer cooler storage area.

Also, removed what used to be some of the exterior wall to the kitchen/cafeteria/dining area.” There is a temporary wall up for now, and that will come down when it is time to walk through that area.

The gymnasium is also progressing well states Robinson. “The new gym is progressing pretty quickly now. Most of all the getting the bare bones prepped and ready. Getting the gym walls painted floor down and those types of things.”

Elementary Principal Jodi Neaveill and Social Worker Shelley Frye will be handing out food baskets again this year. There will be a total of 16 baskets. The American Legion Post 117 has provided 8 hams and 8 turkeys. The Ladies of the Oakley Brick Church will supply the fruit. The Elementary school is collecting canned goods. Neaveill states that the district collects around 600-800 cans each year.

Rodebaugh highlighted the dual credit program with Richland Community College. “I think our partnership at Richland is one of the things that sets Cerro Gordo apart.” All students have the opportunity to obtain their Associates degree from Richland Community College and their high school diploma from Cerro Gordo at the same time. Rodebaugh stated he believes this year Cerro Gordo will have four students on track to do just that.

Rodebaugh went on to add their partnership with Heartland Technical Academy sets them apart as well.

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