MOLINE -- High school cheerleaders and their backers showed up in force at Monday's school board meeting to support head cheerleading coach Taylor Holman following a misconduct complaint.
In a split decision, school board members voted 4-3 to suspend Ms. Holman without pay for the remainder of the football season but to reinstate her as head basketball cheerleading coach for the 2013-14 school year if she adheres to guidelines from administrators.
Michelle Timmer, a Moline teacher and the parent of two students, including a junior cheerleader, said the complaint that sparked Ms. Holman's suspension was lodged by a parent in June after cheerleaders returned from a Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at Illinois State University.
Ms. Timmer said Ms. Holman was notified of the complaint in June and was told she was not to have contact with the girls until after the district completed its investigation. Ms. Timmer said, since then, the girls have worked with an interim coach.
Ms. Timmer told board members that, if Ms. Holman "would have been instructed before they had gone to camp, we wouldn't be here tonight. I hope you can give her a chance. I think she is a very positive influence on our girls."
"I think all of us cheerleaders would like (Ms. Holman) to be our coach again," junior Ashleigh Freymann told the board.She said she believes the complaint stemmed from MHS seniors at the camp removing clothes from the bags of MHS freshmen and some sophomores. Additionally, she said, some keys went missing and a poster was destroyed.
Ms. Freymann said the pranks at past camps were much worse, citing rats placed in some girls' rooms last year. Parents said complaints were made last year against the 2013 seniors, but no action was taken.Ms. Freymann said she and her teammates recognize the events at camp were not good but always had happened.
Several parents told the board the camp events did not meet the definitions of Illinois statutes on hazing and bullying. They agreed the behavior did not need to continue but called the acts "pranks" that have been part of camp tradition for many years. They said administrators should have directed Ms. Holman and the girls before the camp that what previously was considered tradition would no longer be permitted.
In other business Monday, high school principal Dan McGuire reported the school continues to see an overall upward trend on ACT and Prairie State Achievement Exam scores as students and staff continue to work to concentrate on essential skills. He said staff also are working to improve professional learning communities.
The 2013 seniors scored an average ACT composite score of 20.7, above the state average of 20.6. Wayne Cable, assistant principal, said this was the second time in the last 13 years Moline exceeded the state average composite ACT score.
On the PSAE taken by last year's juniors, 54.9 percent of students met or exceeded standards in English, 55.3 percent met or exceeded in math, 54.6 met or exceeded in reading and 49.9 percent met or exceeded in science. Mr. Cable said students beat the seven year average for scores in English and reading.
On the WorkKeys assessment, 91 percent of students earned a certificate by the end of their junior year for scores of Level 3 or higher on the college readiness test.
In other business, board members:
-- Approved a contract with Tyler Technologies to help the district adjust attendance boundaries for several elementary buildings as part of the Hamilton Elementary expansion project. Chief financial officer Dave McDermott said Tyler will create a computerized map to plot where students attend now and help the district realign attendance centers. The service is expected to initially cost 3,300 plus an hourly fee of $175.
-- Heard an update from superintendent David Moyer on the defunct high school pool. Mr. Moyer said he continues to explore options with community partners. Facilities director Darryl Snyder said a committee is reviewing nine responses from various design groups interested in the project. He expects the committee to interview up to four firms by Sept. 25 with a top firm to be notified by Sept. 30. One firm will be referred to the board for approval.
Board members Cecilia O'Brien and Bob Talitsch requested that people from the community be invited to join the existing committee of four members to provide perspectives from those who actually will use the pool.
-- Were updated by athletic director Todd Rosenthal on the district's heat policy. He said Moline follows IHSA policy and a heat policy passed by the school board in 2009. When temperatures with heat indexes exceed 100 degrees, those participating in practices, games or other events must stop for a water break every 20 minutes. When the temperature with heat indexes exceeds 104 degrees, athletic gear may be altered, if possible. He said that means pads may be removed in football practice but not during games. He added some events have been canceled because of heat.
-- Board members again tabled a contract with Shawnee Behavioral Services to work with students with autism and other disorders. Board member Ben McAdams said he opposed the contract because special education director Christina Denman did not provide adequate time for the board to review information on what services will be provided and how successful Shawnee has been. Board members voted 4-3 to table the contract, with Ms. O'Brien, Michael O'Brien and Connie McElyea opposing the delay.
Today is Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: For the whole of last week we have been favored with the most delightful Indian summer weather, and mercury ranging from 40 to 65 above zero. The river is entirely clear of ice and looks as mild and soft as summer. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Albert Johnson was appointed a deputy in the circuit clerk's office. 1913 -- 100 years ago: 800 or more tons of earth in six landslides covered 38th Street for a distance of 200 feet near 7th Avenue and destroyed much property. 1938 -- 75 years ago: One of the 350-foot towers, which with a new transmitter will increase the power of WHBF to 1,000 watts day and night, has been completed on a 20-acre tract at 23rd Avenue and 51st Street, Moline. 1963 -- 50 years ago: In cooperation with The Associated Press, The Argus presents to its readers a complete, beginning-to-end account of one of the most tragic and dreadful chapters in American history, the assassination of President Kennedy, available in book form, and now in preparation. The book is entitled "The Torch is Passed." 1988 -- 25 years ago: Deere & Co. stockholders received good news of a boost in their quarterly dividends from 20 to 30 cents per share of common stock. The dividend, made to stockholders of record on Dec. 30, will be payable on Feb. 1, 1989.