Homewood joins other municipalities in opposing proposed cuts to state funding

The Homewood District 153 School Board granted tenure to 12 teachers who have completed three years with the district.

Mary Ellen Derman, Tanya Duplessis, Jaime Herron, Paula Jacobson, Morgan Mackey, Jennifer Ostruszka, Rebecca Pugh, Claire Quasthoff, Emily Sehlke, Monica Sendera, Laurie Valiska and Barbara Van Etten will all be on tenure track when they begin the 2015-2016 school year in August.

Superintendent Dale Mitchell said he was happy to recommend these teachers and hopes they will have long careers with the district.

In other business, Mitchell said the district had six current seventh graders interested in taking Mandarin Chinese. They would be part of the first Chinese language class being offered by Homewood-Flossmoor High School next school year. 

The students would join with 8th graders from Parker Junior High in Flossmoor to create a class.

District 153 offers qualified seventh and eighth graders foreign language classes in French and Spanish. Chinese now will be a third option. Mitchell said he is trying to get a working agreement with H-F to have the Chinese teacher start a beginner class at Homewood’s James Hart Junior High. He also has 12 current sixth graders interested in taking Chinese.

The district will be doing major repairs at its buildngs this summer, including replacing the roof at Hart Junior High. The district will accept bids for the construction work on April 30 and award the contracts in May. The board agreed to sell $3.6 million in bonds to cover the expenses.

Mitchell said the district was able to reduce one cost on the project list: the wood gym floor at Hart can be re-sanded and striped, rather than replaced.  It is the original floor from the 1960s, but Mitchell was told the sanding process should make the floor good for another 10 years. 

The superintendent said the district’s enrollment numbers show that another sixth grade teacher will need to be hired to keep class sizes at 25 students.  Numbers for kindergarten registration on Thursday at Willow School also will tell him whether he will need another teacher there.

The board approved new English/language arts curriculum materials for $257,000. 

Mitchell acknowledged it was a big expense, but it is a one-time expense.

Contact Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]

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