Trust in the system: Board extends superintendent contract

January 17, 2019

ROCK FALLS – Rock Falls High School School Board members have plenty of trust in its superintendent, and they’ll keep him at that post for another 5 years. 

The board Wednesday renewed the contract for superintendent Ron McCord, who has served at that post since 2013. His current 5-year contract expires May 15. 

Board president Michael Lewis commended the way McCord has handled the district’s budget in tough financial times. 

“He’s diligent when it comes to our budget,” Lewis said. “Ron and I work very closely on the expenditures of this school. Right now, we’re not getting any state money, and with very little of what we can do with special education, Ron has done a fantastic job, and we’re very happy to have him.

“Hopefully after this contract, we can get him for a few more.”

Budgeting became task No. 1 for McCord. The board unanimously requested that he start work on the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2020. After the district knows how much money will come from the state this summer, a preliminary budget will be on display in August before heard by the public and voted upon in September. 

The district is operating on a balanced budget for the third year in a row, currently at $8.3 million – $7.5 million of which is the education fund – and operated at a $348,068 surplus when it was passed in September. 

Grades improving

In the classroom and hallways, major test grades are up and discipline is improving. Assistant Principal Vicki Dunphy reported that 436 students – about 67 percent of its body – earned final exam exceptions for classes in which they earned an ‘A’ or ‘B,’ which is an increase of five percent from last year. During the same time, student attendance has increased 11 percent, and disciplinary referrals saw a 17.2 percent decrease. 

“We believe that it’s a good incentive for our students to help motivate them,” Dunphy said. 

Another increase is the salary for substitute teachers. Derick Cox of the school’s education association thanked the board for last month’s decision to give them raises – especially with a state-wide substitute shortage. Raises are $90 for the first 60 days, $110 after 61 days, and $156 for strings of 10 or more consecutive days. 

“They deserved it,” Cox said. “It’s been a couple of decades since [the board] raised it.”

Board member resigns

While the board has firmly established its person for their highest administrative role, it now seeks a fellow board member. Stephen Mulvaney, elected in 2013, has submitted his resignation, and McCord said that a successor will be appointed at the Februrary meeting.

Mulvaney was not present Wednesday. Lewis said that he is moving out of the district. 

“Steve’s going to be missed,” Lewis said. “He was part of our finance committee with Jana Jacobs, and Steven and Jana did a very good job with that. Steve’s contributed a lot, and his family has contributed a lot.”

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} Interested candidates may apply for the open board position by 4 p.m. Feb. 1. Go to shawurl.com/3aqu for more information. 

Next meeting

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} The Rock Falls High School Board next meet at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in Room 137 at Rock Falls High School, 101 12th Ave.

Go to rfhs301.org or call 815-625-3886 for an agenda or more information.