District 348 approves new names for schools
MOUNT CARMEL — After voting to close South Elementary School, the Wabash County District 348 School Board accepted the redistribution of students in regular session last month. Now, the board has given new names to the three remaining schools for the 2016–2017 school year.
North Intermediate Center of Education, which will house Pre-K through second grade students, will be renamed Mount Carmel Elementary School. Mount Carmel Middle School, which will house third through sixth grade students, will be known as Mount Carmel Grade School, and Mount Carmel High School will hold seventh graders through seniors will be the Mount Carmel Junior-Senior High School.
Residents of Wabash County have expressed some concern about current middle school students being put into the same building as high school students, but the board has ensured that the junior high will be stationed in the newer section of MCHS, and bell schedules will be set to make sure junior high students do not come into contact with high school students in the hallways or during lunch periods.
The board voted unanimously to change the names for the next school year at Monday’s meeting.
School Report Cards
Mount Carmel Middle School Principal Steve Holt and Mount Carmel High School Principal Pat Cheeseman shared their school’s report card results from the state with the board.
Holt said 324 students were tested at MCMS. Twenty-one percent of those students met or exceeded the math portion of PARCC, and 40 percent met or exceeded standards in the English-Language Arts section.
MCMS students tested above the state average, and Holt said they had improved 7 percent from the previous year. The school continues to use student growth assessments to make sure the student is improving.
Holt said the 2017 PARCC exam will be in April.
Only juniors at MCHS were tested using the PARCC exam, due to lack of state funding, Cheeseman said.
Sixty percent of the juniors met or exceeded standards in English-Language Arts, and 72 percent met standards in the math portion of PARCC.
“Kids were fired up about taking it,” Cheeseman said.
He continued to say that he thought MCHS students had the second highest math scores in the state, based on the PARCC data.
High school students in Illinois will be tested using the SAT next year, instead of the PARCC exam, Cheeseman said.
Both schools have school improvement plans and are working to better prepare students for the upcoming school years.
Superintendent Tim Buss cautioned the board about the potential of a property tax freeze, which would lock in the district’s current tax at 4.99 percent for two years.
“I feel that we have to stay at that — our voters in the county passed the 1 percent tax, which we should start receiving that on July 1 and I think that will help alleviate some if it,” board member Janice Alka. “I think it would be very unfair to our voters to do anything different.”
The board will consider the tax levy for 2016 payable in 2017, and make a decision at the December meeting.
In other business:
• The board approved a bid of $187,830 from JR Appliances for the MCHS HVAC project.