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UT Board passes amended budget, learns about all-girls retreat

UT Board passes amended budget, learns about all-girls retreat

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EAST MOLINE — At its monthly meeting on Monday night, the United Township High School Board of Education approved a final amended budget for fiscal year 2019.

The budget, which passed unanimously, includes $30.5 million in total expenditures and $31.9 million in total revenues, for about $1.4 million in net revenue.

The most-amended section of the budget was the Education Fund, which now has expenditures of $15.1 million, up from $14.8 million in the original budget.

“It’s very normal, whenever we do an amended budget, that the Ed[ucation] Fund pretty much is completely amended,” Comptroller Tracy DeClerck said in her presentation before the board. “Most of this has to do with our federal grants.”

Also on Monday night, Superintendent of District 30 Jay Morrow discussed ongoing legislative matters in Springfield. This week, state legislators are expected to hear HB 3053, a bill that would form a commission to make recommendations for consolidating at least 25% of school districts statewide.

“Obviously a target is dual districts, such as UT and our partner elementary districts,” Morrow said about the bill, which might target districts like UTHS for consolidation. “This is something significant we’ll have to keep an eye on." 

Illinois has one of the lowest ratios of students-per-district in the country. 

The bill passed the state House of Representatives unanimously in March. 

Shannon Miller, director of curriculum and development, also gave a presentation on “Girl Crush,” a first-ever retreat for women and young girls at UTHS. Held at the high school over the morning and afternoon of May 4, the retreat brought together around 85 female students and staff for bonding sessions, educational presentations and discussions on femininity, safety and health.

In one event, called “Stand Up For Your Sister,” girls marked sheets with personal statements, such as “I hate the way I look,” “I’ve gone to bed hungry,” “I’ve been raped.” The sheets were then distributed randomly, and as each line was read aloud a girl stood up when her sheet had that line marked.

When the line “I’ve been raped” was read, six girls stood up. At least 35 stood when “I’ve gone to bed hungry” was read.

“That, as a mom, made me cry,” Miller said. “It was an extremely emotional piece for us to watch."

Post-retreat evaluations asked attendees to rank their experience from 0 to 10, with 10 being “life changing.” Miller said that no score was lower than an 8.

“It was a really powerful day,” Miller said. “I’m really proud to have been a part of it.”

She added that attendees already are planning ways to expand it for next year.

On Monday night, Morrow also swore in Jami Gonzalez to the board. Gonzalez is a Hampton resident and UTHS grad who won her seat this spring as a write-in candidate. More than 20 years ago, one of her teachers at UTHS was Morrow, who is now a colleague on the board.

“My biggest passion is the academics at UT,” she said. “They’re amazing, and I’d like to keep that going for all students.”

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The Royal River King and Queen Marching Band of Clinton High School performs music by the group Queen during halftime of the Central DeWitt at Clinton football game Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, at Coan Field in Clinton.

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