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Nelson superintendent fills vacant board seat

Departing member leaving the district

ROCK FALLS – Nelson Superintendent Gregory Lutyens is joining the East Coloma School Board.

East Coloma board member Jamie Near, who was elected to the board in April 2011 and whose term was set to expire in 2015, resigned this week because he is moving out of the district, Superintendent Kevin Andersen said.

The board accepted his resignation Tuesday. Near did not return a message seeking comment.

Lutyens, who lives in the East Coloma school district, will fill the seat until April, Andersen said. The board seated him Tuesday.

The Nelson and East Coloma school districts are on the road to consolidation.

Representatives from both districts made their final pitch to Regional Superintendent Bob Sondgeroth on Nov. 8. Sondgeroth has until Nov. 21 to make a decision and file it with the Illinois State Board of Education. The state superintendent then has 21 days to approve or deny the proposal.

If Sondgeroth and the state superintendent approve the consolidation, and no organized groups appeal the decision within the allotted time, residents of both school districts will vote in a referendum to merge the schools, as well as for new school board members, in April.

Lutyens was not selected to fill the vacant school board seat in light of the consolidation effort, Andersen said.

“I see it as a positive, as he can act as another bridge between the two organizations as we prepare for the consolidation vote,” he said.

Neither Andersen nor Lutyens is guaranteed the superintendent job in the new district; the newly elected school board will choose a superintendent.

Also Tuesday, the board:

n Discussed the April elections. Andersen reminded board members that they must complete nomination paperwork for the board of the consolidated district, as well as for the East Coloma board, in the event voters deny the merger.

n Discussed the annual financial audit. Andersen said the auditor only found that the district does not have enough different people handling money – a result of its small size.

n Discussed the annual school report card. Andersen noted the district did not make adequate yearly progress toward national education standards because one subgroup – economically disadvantaged students – did not make AYP in reading.

n Approved a tentative tax levy of $1.14 million. Andersen noted the estimated equalized assessed value of the district decreased 2.96 percent from last year and the tentative levy increased 3.18 percent over last year.

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