CHARLESTON -- The Charleston School District plans to extend a student leadership initiative by adopting a program to help with goal-setting and other character traits.

With Charleston school board approval, the district will implement the "Leader in Me" program based on the book "The 7 Habitats of Highly Effective People." A vote on the program is scheduled for the board's meeting Wednesday.

The program would go along with the competency-based education program the district is implementing to help students with social skills and leadership opportunities, according to Kristen Holly, assistant superintendent for student services.

Competency-based education emphasizes allowing students to work toward skill levels.

The "Leader in Me" program will complement it by helping students learn to set goals and develop "soft skills" addressing relationships, etiquette and more, Holly said. There are different areas of emphasis for grade school, middle school and high school.

The board's vote will be on allowing the program to begin during the 2019-20 school year. There will be a cost to the district to train staff to implement the program, Holly said.

She said the cost is expected to be around $100,000. The district will mostly use federal funding and will also look for grants and community contributions, she added.

The board's meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the district office, 410 W. Polk Ave.

Other votes set for the meeting included setting fees for the 2019-20 school year, which would include a 10-cent increase in school lunches and breakfasts.

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Chad Burgett, assistant superintendent for business services, said the proposed meal price changes are based on federal guidelines.

Student prices would increase to $2.65 for lunch and $1.60 for breakfast and the adult prices would be $3.05 for lunch and $1.95 for breakfast.

There are also proposed decreases to the student parking fee and driver's education fee at Charleston High School and fees for activities at CHS and Charleston Middle School.

Burgett said the planned decreases reflect how the district's finances have improved since widespread budget cuts about five years ago. There's also the possibility of more revenue if the lower fees lead to increased participation, he added.

The board is also set to approve a new contract for fuel for the district's school bus transportation provider, Illinois Central School Bus Co.

The low bid of just more than $2.34 per gallon from Effingham Equity Inc. is about 47 cents per gallon more than the price in the previous three-year contract, Burgett said.

The school bus company bills the district each month for the fuel it uses for transportation services for the district.

Votes on personnel matters scheduled for the meeting include appointing a CHS speech team coach for the 2019-20 school year.

Superintendent Todd Vilardo said the candidate wouldn't be identified before the meeting. Nathan Hinote resigned as the CHS speech team coach after one year in the position.

Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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