New WCHS Principal

Ben Asche

By BOB WATSON

An administrator with the Freeport School District will become West Carroll's next high school principal.

The employment of Ben Asche was approved by the West Carroll School Board at its Tuesday, Feb. 19, meeting. He received a three-year contract for the 2019-21 school years.

According to information provided by West Carroll Supt. Julie Katzenberger, Asche is currently serving in his second year as principal of Carl Sandburg School in Freeport School District 145.

Asche's previous experience includes three years as assistant principal, one year as dean of students and six years as a physical education and health teacher, all at Carl Sandburg School.

He also has three years experience as the Freeport Middle School athletic director, several years coaching a variety of high school sports and five years as a summer school coordinator/principal.

A 2000 Freeport High School graduate, Asche holds a Master's degree in educational leadership from Concordia University-Chicago, a Bachelor's degree in physical education/teacher education from Illinois State University, and an Associate's degree from Highland Community College.

Asche is a lifelong resident of Freeport where he lives with his wife, Krista, and their three children. He enjoys spending time with his family, boating, traveling and hunting with his father and dog, Bella.

Asche will replace WCHS Principal Jeff Utsinger who submitted his resignation earlier, effective at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

In another matter, the board accepted the bus lease bid for 2019-22 from Central States Bus Sales in Big Rock. Three bids were received and Central States was the low bidder in all categories, except one, said Supt. Katzenberger.

“Central States has always treated us well," said board president Jerry Anderson.

The three-year bus lease bid package includes:

71-passenger, $13,330.58; 77-passenger, $13,492.51; 25-passenger, $12,068.86; 24-passenger, $12,623.95.

The board also accepted a bid from Central States for a 14-passenger activity bus. The five-year lease-to-own is $12,788.60.

Supt. Katzenberger termed the decision to lease an activity bus a "good investment," saying it will be used for wrestling, FFA, quiz bowl and other smaller groups rather than using a full-sized bus.

Board member Fred Tipton pointed out that a CDL license is not required to drive the activity bus, which may result in a savings to the school district.

Katzenberger reminded board members that the state reimburses school districts for 80 percent of transportation-related expenses.

In other business at its Feb. 19 meeting, the West Carroll School Board:

•Learned from Supt. Katzenberger that the district recently received a "very clean audit overall." Added the superintendent, "The auditor really looked over everything and spent a lot of time. We were pleased and I thank our bookkeeper, Claudine Guenzler. She does a good job. We have good workers."

•Approved an amended school calendar that has May 31 as the last day of student attendance and June 3 as a teacher in-service. Five built-in emergency snow days have been used and four days of no school due to inclement weather were declared Act of God days.

•Heard from Supt. Katzenberger that a recent two-hour late-start due to a winter storm had gone smoothly. “It was a historic day, we had never had a late-start before,” she said. “It worked really well, it’s been a good thing.” Tipton said the administration had handled the situation well.

•Approved an overnight trip for the West Carroll-Eastland middle school wrestling co-op to attend the state tournament on March 1 at East Peoria. The number of wrestlers attending depends on how many qualify for the state finals, said West Carroll Middle School Principal Brady Knop. Supt. Katzenberger said she will check with Eastland about sharing expenses for the overnight trip..

•Heard Supt. Katzenberger report on a Feb. 6 meeting she attended to review and discuss results of the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau report for Carroll County, noting there were "important and promising trends" in the county, including: a downward trend in teen births; the county fertility rate is slightly above the U.S. rate; the unemployment rate is at an all-time low of just over 3 percent; and 95.8 percent of people in the county have health insurance compared to 88.1 percent in Illinois.

Following a 78-minute closed session, the school board took the following action:

•Employed Christina Polk as a WCHS agriculture teacher for 2019-20. She will replace veteran agriculture teacher Dan Hartman who is retiring at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

•Approved the non-certified hirings of Bob Nolan, seasonal director of grounds March 1-Nov. 30, 2019; Sarah Green, WCPS P/T aide; Shelley Falls, WCSD food service director, effective July 1.

•Approved the resignations of Karen Sawvel, WCHS counselor, end of 2018-19 school year; Brandy Johnson, WCPS part-time cook's assistant, effective Feb. 22; Kevin Venner, WCHS SADD advisor, end of 2018-19 school year.

•Approved the following coaching/sponsor recommendations:

-WCHS Track & Field—Chrissy McIntyre and Michael Bicksler, assistant coaches; Elizabeth Conroy, volunteer coach.

-WCHS Baseball—Andy Hughes, frosh-soph coach; Brian Gilbert and Nick Hughes, volunteer assistant coaches.

-WCHS Softball—Jerry Biederman, frosh-soph coach; Paul Waitkoss, volunteer assistant coach.

-WCMS Track—Salinda Belander, girls track coach.

•Upheld administrative decisions on out-of-school suspensions for WCMS and WCHS.