CAMBRIDGE—The Cambridge School Board renewed positions of 13 non-tenured teachers and offered tenure to the only teacher up for tenure during its March meeting. Three-and-a-half positions are being vacated at the end of this school year due to retirements; one-and-a-half will not be filled.


    The Cambridge School Board renewed positions of 13 non-tenured teachers and offered tenure to the only teacher up for tenure during its March meeting.

    Three-and-a-half positions are being vacated at the end of this school year due to retirements; one-and-a-half will not be filled.

    Decisions on the district’s classroom aides can wait until next month, after an April 14 board retreat. The board has handed out reduction-in-force notices in the past, but often those employees have been recalled as funding solidified closer to the start of the school year.

    Last month, Supt. Tom Akers said the district hadn’t received $200,000 in anticipated money from the state, but this month, he noted, $50,000 of that amount was received.

    He said the board has “committed to the educational process” and to using reserves, but he noted the difficulty of doing otherwise.

    “We’re such a small district that anything we cut, we’re cutting programs. We’re cutting bone. It would directly impact programs,” Akers said.

    He said the district will use its reserves and have another community forum this August.

    “We want to be able to present our idea before we put it in action,” he stated.

    He told the board this week that Gov. Pat Quinn is cutting both general state aid and mandated categoricals (such as transportation, pre- kin­der­garten) in order to draw wealthy suburban districts into the education funding cause, because with their wealth in residential property taxes and rich corporations, the wealthy suburbans districts don’t get much state aid anyway.

    “But categoricals,” he said, “they need that state aid.”

    He explained other political forces in the state are calling for a big increase in categoricals like transportation, but not in state aid, while the governor is asking for one percent income tax surcharge to keep general state aid where it is.

    Akers noted this year’s spending is under budget, and credited the principals and staff.

    “They realize where we are in this crisis,” he said.

    The board has raised school registration fees from $35 to $40. Superintendent Tom Akers told the board, that even with the increase, Cambridge’s fees will still be $10 less than the lowest of the surrounding districts.

    A new $20 preschool registration fee will also be implemented next year. The superintendent said the parents of pre-kindergartners he talked to “totally understand” being charged half the registration paid by the rest of the students, as it’s a half-day pre-K program.

    “By no means would it pay the salary, but it would go towards snacks and supplies and help maintain those programs,” said Akers.

    The number of football coaches will drop from five to four next school year. The board hired Luke Johnston to teach high school English and be head football coach.

    The board approved spending $19,980 to have Oldeen Roofing of Kewanee repair a leaky wall at the grade school with a batten reinforcement.

    Drilling for the grade school geothermal project is slated to be done by May 20, with installation done by July 30.

    The board also:

    • Accepted the resignation of math teacher and basketball/track coach Haley Wirth.

    • Accepted the retirement of pre-kindergarten teacher Wynne Legate as of June 2015.

    • Offered tenure to high school math teacher Rob Stone.

    • Learned Ruyle is testing the high school boiler’s capacity March 29 and 30 to determine if the district can get by with a less expensive replacement.

    • Learned the district is earning 1.25 percent interest on its $1 million for the grade school geothermal project.

    • Set an April 14 board retreat to work on issues including preparing for the next fiscal year.