Advisory Council Notes 7-28-2017

July 28, 2017

 The July 28th, 2017 Advisory Council meeting was called to order by Chairperson Panthen at approximately 10:05 a.m. In attendance in person were Mark Peters, Olaya Landa-Vialand, John Thien, Ann Panthen, Chairperson and Superintendent Preston. Jess Rogers was in attendance via conference call.

 First agenda item was approval of January meeting notes. Jess Rogers made mention of one item that needed correcting. He said the first vote of the council in January, 2017 approving the minutes of the last meeting should read all "yays" not "nays". The change was made. A motion to approve the minutes was then made by Mark Peters, seconded by Olaya Landa-Vialand and the motion carried with all yays. A motion to approve May, 2017 minutes was made by Jess Rogers and seconded by Mark Peters. Motion passed with no opposition.

 Approval of the agenda with no changes was made by John Thien and seconded by Mark Peters with no opposing votes. There were no conflicts of interest.

 Superintendent Preston gave the following report: She said we recently had an audit for the USDA Federal Lunch Program. She said it was a district wide audit that included not only ISVI but ISD and ACRE. This audit comes every three years so it was not an unexpected audit. Superintendent Preston reported there was one audit finding at ISD which involves DHS Fiscal. She said it is a district wide record keeping finding and a corrective action plan had been submitted. She said the finding was two part. The first part how are we figuring prices for adult lunches which had been all worked out. The other part they were not satisfied with the record keeping, it was not clarified on check stubs what the deduction is for. Since we don't write the checks, it comes from the Comptroller and not something we can do locally. Mark Peters asked what the employee pays for lunches and was told $8 per pay.

 Superintendent Preston reminded the group that ISD hired their own Superintendent. She said we are really glad to have her. Superintendent Preston reported that we still have some educator vacancies at ISVI. Some people have retired. We will interview for the math educator position and the Independent Living Educator should post today. She explained to the group in 2013 we were successful in getting legislation passed that exempted teachers from the grading part of the Personnel Code. Waiting for grades can take anywhere from 8-16 months. Educators still have to submit to Rutan interviews and prequal. That legislation made the hiring much faster. But that legislation had a sunset clause for 2015 and is no longer in effect. The only way labor unions, both AFSCME and IFT would agree to the legislation was with the sunset clause because they fear the exemption may be an erosion of the personnel code. There is new legislation for the same exemption on the Governor's desk awaiting his signature but it contains another sunset clause. Councilperson Landa-Vialand asked why educators or IFT would want this clause and offered to do whatever she could to change this by writing letters, get parents involved or advocating in any way for the school. Superintendent Preston stated probably the best thing to do is to let educators or students who have recently graduated that may be interested in working at ISVI or ISD to submit their applications for a grade now, even if they have no desire at the moment to work here just in case they would change their mind. She said right now you have to wait eight to ten months for a grade and sometimes longer and often times very qualified candidates who get a failing grade. When that happens they have to resubmit their application or appeal the process taking even more time. She said this problem only affects state schools. Because of the wait time involved for grades many times we lose very qualified candidates to public schools. She told the group they were seeking the same exemption from the personnel code for O&M Specialists and Trainees. She said during the last search for an O&M instructor it took two years to find one and during that time we lost several well qualified candidates who couldn't wait for grades or who couldn't get a grade. She said during this process a complaint was filed against the school by a parent because the IEP said a student's needs O&M and we were unable to provide it. She said she reached out to certain individuals to provide the services on a contract basis but could not pay the salary. Councilwoman Landa-Vialand said he would be in Washington in September and said she would make appointments with both Congressman Durbin and Senator Duckworth to sit down and talk about these issues. Superintendent Preston told Councilwoman Landa-Vialand that she could get her information on the sponsors of the current bill.

Superintendent Preston said we have RCW vacancies in the process of being filled and there is still one O&M vacancy. One Residential Services Supervisor is vacant and one supervisor is out and there is a vacancy for a Support Service Worker in dietary. The Account Tech 1 vacancy for the federal lunch count program we just interviewed for and the RNII vacancy has been posted.

Superintendent Preston told the group that we do have a budget but we are waiting on further instructions so we are in a holding pattern. She said we are not a part of the school funding they are fighting about now but our kids come from all those districts that may be affected. If they don't' open their schools our students won't get to come.

Superintendent Preston told the group we continue to have electrical issues. The recent problems were not our own. One outage was due to a storm and the other involved an accident as the cause of that outage. The outages caused damage to our generator that had to be repaired to the tune of $4500. She said we have to have the generator for the freezers on campus that have food it them.

Superintendent Preston told the group there are new soda machines on campus. She said Pepsi removed their machines due to low sales that had been a problem for a few years. She said she talked to Blind and they agreed to provide machines and fill them with product. She said they would directly provide the product and machines should be full within a week or so. These machines are not branded so we are not tied to a certain brand. When asked whether it was just soda or soda and snacks she replied snacks may be in the staff lounge but are off limits during the school day to students because of their nutritional policy and USDA guidelines that say we can't sell junk food during the day.

Superintendent Preston told the group the Accreditation teams will be here in 2018. She said surveys will go out and it will be very helpful if they are filled out. She said this happens every five years and seems to come really fast. She said they have been working on this continually since the last one in order to stay on top of the process. She said they have a team that meets once a month, but not in July. She said it just makes us better to stay on top of things.

Superintendent Preston updated the group on the website and said we are currently trying to get a new web address for our site.

Chairperson Panthen asked Superintendent Preston about the online registration. Superintendent Preston said it was going very well but she said some people just don't have internet access. She thought 60% of the registrations had been done online.

Superintendent Preston told the group that ISVI Parent Association was forming an ISVI Athletic Booster Club and that Leslie Lynch was involved with that.

The meeting moved onto Old Business. We have three potential council members to be voted upon. They are Angie Green, Arlana Henley and Sue Brosmith. Letters were read at the last meeting. A letter from Angie Green was read. Superintendent Preston told the group that Sue Brosmith was a principal at ISD and temporary principal here for about two years and has a background working with students with a variety of disabilities. She said Sue Brosmith has a lot of energy and attends a lot of community events. Chairperson Panthen agreed Sue Brosmith was very well connected in the world of kids with disabilities. She said Arlana Henley was the parent of a student here and was experienced with the PTA and works in an office so she has some experience in going to meetings. All the candidates seem dedicated to work on this Board. Chairperson Landa-Vialand said it was great to have parents on here and someone with connections. Chairperson Panthen agreed, she said she saw no downside to all three applicants. She said it appeared that they all fit within the realm of the rules. Arlana's child is early junior high and Angie child is high school and her other son that attended ISVI is a student at Western.

Chairperson Panthen made a motion to nominate Arlana Henley as a member of the ISVI Advisory Council. Motion was seconded by Olaya Land-Vialand, all are in favor with no one opposing.

Chairperson Panthen made a motion to nominate Angie Green as a member of the ISVI Advisory Council. Motion was seconded by Mark Peters. All voted in favor of Angie Green with no one opposition to the nomination.

Chairperson Panthen made a motion to nominate Sue Brosmith as a member of the ISVI Advisory Council. Motion was seconded by John Thien. All voted in favor of the nomination of Sue Brosmith to the Advisory Council with no votes in opposition.

Superintendent Preston said she would draft a letter to let them know and provide them with meeting dates.

Discussion concerning who on the present board stayed on or cycled off was had. Chairwoman Panthen cycled off at this meeting. The status of John Thien was unknown but it was believed he still had another year. Olaya Land-Vialand, Mark Peters and Jess Rogers still have time on the Board. The meeting moved onto the election of office holders. Chairperson Panthen made a motion to nominate Olaya Land-Vialand as Chairperson the ISVI Advisory Council. Chairperson Panthen told Ms Land-Vialand that the job was not a time demanding position and that she would receive a lot of support. Ms Land-Vialand accepted the nomination. The motion was seconded by Mark Peters, all voted in favor of the nomination and there were no votes in opposition. Ms Land-Vialand was named the Chairperson for the ISVI Advisory Council. Chairperson Panthen nominated Mark Peters as vice-chair, which he accepted. All voted in favor of Mark Peters as Vice-Chairman with no votes in opposition. Chairperson Panthen nominated John Thien as Secretary which he accepted. Motion was seconded by Jess Rogers with all voting in favor of John Thien as Secretary and no votes in opposition.

Superintendent Preston told the group that going forward ISVI would provide beverages at the meeting but no snacks. She thanked Chairperson Panthen for the role on the Council and that she enjoyed working with her. Chairperson Panthen said she enjoyed her time on the Council and told the group if they needed anything like letters written to let her know.

Councilperson Jess Rogers of Blind Vendors told the group he just wanted to interject the training for new vendors was in October and it was probably too late to join but the one after that was April 18th. He encouraged any students interested in the training to get their packets filled out. He said the businesses were very successful and currently there was an opening in Peoria that makes $84000 a year.

Councilperson John Thien asked about the next Low Vision Clinic which Superintendent Preston replied she knew it was in October. Some discussion concerning the ages of children attending the Low Vision Clinic was had. Councilperson Olay Land-Vialand expressed concern that the program should be extended to children under the age of kindergarten.

A motion was made by Chairperson Panthen to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mark Peters. All voted in favor, motion carried. The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:21 a.m.