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The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Board Meeting 4.8.24

Photo By Jasper Paulson
The board recognizes Kaneland High School’s winter sports teams during the Superintendent salute. Each sport brought coaches and athletes to tell the board about the successes of their seasons.

The fate of ninth grade at Kaneland IgKnight Personalized Learning Academy (KIPLA) dominated the conversation at the April 8, 2024, board meeting, along with many public comments relating to the state of Kaneland High School’s track.

Board members debated the topic for more than 90 minutes, after Personalized Learning Coordinator and KIPLA Principal Laura Garland and Director of Educational Services 6-12 Patrick Raleigh presented them with logistics and information about four potential plans for ninth graders continuing at KIPLA in the 2024-25 school year. 

The ultimate decision that they would have to make was shown through details of four plans that the board came up with at the previous meeting. Plan A was the deferral of ninth grade at KIPLA. Instead of expanding, the board, along with the administration, would take the 2024-25 school year to plan for the continuation of the program in the future. Plan B was to continue as originally planned when the idea of KIPLA was pitched. Ninth graders who chose to attend KIPLA would take first and second-hour elective classes at KHS and would transition via bus during third-period homeroom to finish their day at the Kaneland Meredith Academic Center (KMAC). Plan C would be to hold the ninth grade class at KIPLA in the high school. The structure of the day would be the same as Plan B, but instead of going to KMAC, the students would go to an isolated classroom in KHS to continue the rest of their day there. Plan D is the same as plan B. However, not only would there be a ninth-grade class of KIPLA, there would be a 10th-grade class too. Eventually, the board narrowed the consideration to plan A and B.

There were three public comments that took place before the decision was made. KIPLA eighth-grade student Alex Crocker, KIPLA parent Jennifer Crocker and KIPLA parent Lara Ekstrom encouraged the board to decide whether or not the ninth grade program at KIPLA would run. They voiced their anxieties about the unknown outcome of their educational futures and urged the board to decide during the same meeting. An additional audience member attempted to give his opinion on the matter outside the time allotted for public comments and was consequently advised that the board was not allowed to interact with the audience.

“Though I’d really hope that you expand [KIPLA] to high school, I would also accept an answer of no,” Alex Crocker said. “I’d just like it to be tonight because there’s only seven weeks left of the school year. I need time to talk with my teachers about how next year is going to go.”

Board member Dr. Aaron Lawler was excluded from the voting on this decision due to technical difficulties, as he attended the meeting via conference call. Board President Addam Gonzales, because of the resulting even number of board members, was not allowed to vote.

After much consideration, the board decided not to expand KIPLA to ninth grade for the 2024-25 school year with the motion carried 3-2. However, this is not the end of talks to continue high school levels at KIPLA. The board prioritized making a commitment to students to put a plan in place to remove any uncertainty about the fate of KIPLA in the years to come and outline specific parameters that would result in a dual ninth and 10th-grade program running in future years. 

“If we don’t [run ninth grade] next year, I don’t think it will ever hit that number because I think that the parents will lose faith,” board member Edmund Koch said.  

Public comments also revolved around the high school’s deteriorating track. Four community members and Kaneland track stakeholders, Elburn residents Sheila Albano, David Anderson, Ralph Drendel and David Nosek, voiced their concerns about the danger of the track and the possible litigations that could result. 

“[My son had] a spike caught on the runway and got a pole vault to the eye,” Anderson said. “Very luckily, he did not damage his eye. He had a very bad black eye for about two weeks.”

At the end of the meeting, board member Aaron McCauley requested that the topic of the track and possible repairs be added to the agenda for the next board meeting.

The meeting began with the Superintendent salute which was done by Fuchs this week as Superintendent Dr. Todd Leden was absent from this meeting. The salute highlighted KHS winter sports and their seasons. Coaches and some athletes from boys and girls basketball, cheer, gymnastics, boys bowling and boys and girls wrestling presented the board with details of their successful seasons.

Director of Human Resources Dr. Chris Adkins presented the special education staff numbers for the 2024-25 school year, showing they are overstaffed by three personnel. Adkins also presented the need for a speech and language pathologist and an occupational therapist required by law due to specific IEP plans for students throughout the district. The board approved the honorable reduction in force of three staff members and the hiring of two different staff members 7-0.

After the discussion about ninth grade at KIPLA, the board voted on the organization of the Board of Education. The board reelected current board secretary Julie Orphal and elected Assistant Superintendent for Business Jackie Bogan as treasurer. They also reappointed board member Jennifer Simmons as the liaison for the Health Insurance Committee and Board Vice President Bob Mankivsky for the Hall of Fame Committee. They also approved the board meeting schedule for the 2024-25 year but changed the start time of meetings to 6 p.m.

Next, the board discussed the student board representative program that has been going on for two years. The student representative is a Kaneland senior who attends every board meeting and gives the board updates on student activity at KHS. The position is currently held by senior Katie Pfotenhauer. Pfotenhauer suggested to the board that they should encourage participation in other important committee meetings, such as the Citizens Advisory Committee. The board agreed that they would like to proceed with and grow the program for next year with a vote of 7-0. 

The approval for the bid on snow removal through the district was originally in the consent agenda before Mankivsky asked to move it to new business for questions. The board explained that they are required by law to take the lowest cost bid unless there is a legal reason not to. The lowest bid was from American Tree and Turf, and the board approved them with a motion that carried 7-0. 

The Board then moved to the superintendent and board report, where they were informed of future Kaneland superintendent Kurt Rohlwing’s upcoming visits to district schools on Wednesday April 24 and Tuesday May 7. After his second visit, there will be a reception at Kaneland Harter Middle School from 5-7 p.m. that will be open to the whole community. They also talked about the Special Education Resources and Craft Fair, which will be held on April 27 at KHMS. Four Kaneland staff members were nominated for the 2024 Kane County Educator of the Year award. KHS English teacher Luc Al-Sakhria, Fuchs, KHMS instructional coach Elsa Glover and KHMS choir director Bradley Staker were nominated, and the banquet will be held at the Q Center in St. Charles on Friday, May 3. Pfotenhauer then presented the board with the successes of recent games and meets from the boys and girls track and field, girls varsity softball and girls varsity soccer teams. She also acknowledged senior Sara Toman, junior Stacy Layton and junior Cassandra Cramer for winning in a graphic communications competition. Pfotenhauer then talked about prom. The theme for this year’s prom is Viva Las Vegas, with tickets on sale until April 17 for $77.77. 

The next meeting will be held on Monday, April 29.

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About the Contributors
Jasper Paulson
Jasper Paulson, Feature 2 Editor
Name: Jasper “Jay” Paulson   Position: Feature 2 Editor   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: Hey, I’m Jasper. Just a warning: if I don’t look like the picture you see here, it’s because I cut my hair at any inconvenience. Anyway, I love drawing and color guard. Shout out to the Kaneland Marching Knights. I also love anything horror even though I might seem a bit like a scaredy cat.    My favorite…   Movie: Back to the Future Show: Heartstopper Sport: Marching Band Animal: Hyena Book: Act Cool by Tobly McSmith Food: Mac and Cheese Song: In the Stars by Benson Boone Band / Artist: Set it Off

Audrey Walker
Audrey Walker, Lifestyle Editor and Co-Social Media Manager
Name: Audrey Walker   Position: Lifestyle Editor and Co-Social Media Manager   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: When I’m not running, working, or spending time with my family, I’m doing something fun with my friends. I like to start crochet projects that I’ll never finish and spend more money on clothes than I should. School is scary, but I’m excited for this year!   My favorite…   Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You Show: Gilmore Girls Sport: Cross Country Animal: Dogs Book: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud Food: Pasta or Chocolate Song: Lover, You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley Band / Artist: Lana Del Rey