A new superintendent started work at Teutopolis School District this week.


On May 20, the Teutopolis School Board approved employing Matt Sturgeon as Superintendent of Teutopolis Community Unit School District Unit 50 effective June 1. This came a little early with Deborah Philpott submitting her resignation as interim superintendent, effective May 31 due to retirement limitation on her remaining workdays.


Sturgeon’s hiring was announced weeks ago. He has been principal of St. Anthony Grade School and worked in other Illinois school districts before coming to Effingham County. Philpott, who was retired the St. Elmo school district, was hired last summer after Bill Fritcher accepted the superintendent position for Neoga schools. Philpott worked with the board on finalizing the plans for the high school renovation, which took another major step last week with demolition of the old high school section.


In other personnel matters, the board members agreed to hire Lori Mette as High School Special Education Teacher for the 2020-21 year; Maria Tegeler as the High School Agriculture Teacher, starting this fall; and Susan Bushur as a paraprofessional for the upcoming year. Summer employees were also employed. Currently, summer library programs are still being discussed. However, there will be no Summer Book Club or Summer Reading Camp.


Resignations were also accepted from Morgan Wilson as Teutopolis Junior High assistant volleyball coach, assistant THS high school assistant softball coach and assistant girls golf coach. Nicole Lustig also turned in her resignation as junior high assistant softball coach.


With the old high school building tumbling down, the district is now concentrating on the next phase of the renovation project for the THS campus. This includes renovation of the gym area, including the locker rooms, offices for coaches and related areas. The gym and cafeteria will remain and be connected by a sheltered corridor to the classroom areas to the west.


The following tasks and costs were approved during the May 20 meeting: additional asbestos removal work in the locker room ceiling area costing $111 ,020 for abatement and removal of ceiling and pipe insulation--plus abatement design and monitoring at a price of $18,000. All other projects will be completed by district personnel.


In addition, asbestos removal will be completed in the assembly room floor and pricing will be sought from qualified firms. Tile installation in the high school will be covered by the grounds and facilities director. Additional bids will be needed for the weight room. If the bids are turned it quickly a special meeting will be scheduled for more discussion on that part of the project.


New high school math textbooks from McGraw-Hill were purchased for $48,080. Technology purchases were accepted for the summer of totally about $45,000—in which Teutopolis Education Foundation will contribute $26,000 as its share of the cost.


Board members agreed to maintain student and adult lunch prices at the same amounts for the 2020-21 school year. Prices are $2.55 for kindergarten through sixth grade; $2.80 for eighth grade through high school. The cost for the high school ala carte items is 70 cents and extra milk will cost 35 cents. Book fees and athletic fees will also remain the same for the upcoming school year.


In other matters relating to the next school year, board members approved the final calendar for the current school year, which obviously has been changed drastically due to the Coronavirus Pandemic safety measures that shut down schools across the state. The board agreed to renew membership in the Illinois Association of School Boards for another year. A budget hearing was also scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 22 in the Unit 50 office meeting room, a decision made after approval of the financial report and a review of the amended budget by Philpott.


There was also a second reading of school district policy changes. These changes can be reviewed upon request through the Unit 50 district office.


There were also reports on health insurance, TEF grants and enrollment waivers for students out of district, a policy that applies to Unit 50 full-time employees’ children.