Sherrard QC Elite to compete

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
The Quad Cities Elite robot named "Hailfire" is being prepared for the Chicago Midwest Regional competition.

The Sherrard CUSD #200 board of education learned about some upcoming competitions the district's robotics team will be entering in the near future. QC Elite Team 648 is slated to compete in Chicago in two weeks, the board learned at the Feb. 11, 2009 meeting.

There are currently 15 students involved in QC Elite, with 12 of them traveling to Chicago for the competition. Six of the students are from Sherrard including Alex Gardner, Dameon Freeman, Jessica Young, Anthony Lay, Dan Bichel and Zack Whitmire.

SHS Robotics coach Michael LeGate spoke to the board about the team and their upcoming schedule of events..

"Three schools make up the team - Sherrard, Davenport West and Moline High School," he said. "Most of the student supervisory duties fall on me."

Robotics has been a part of all three schools for the past 11 years. This year's Midwest regional takes place in Chicago with 52 teams from all over the United States and Canada competing against each other on specific tasks. Six weeks before the competition, each team was shipped parts to build a robot. "We have less than a week to complete it," he said. "We only get six weeks to design, build and test the robot. It's a pretty intense six weeks."

Students work out of two locations, Coyne Center for media purposes and the build takes place at Ken-Tronics in Milan. The robots need to be programmed for a specific task. This year's main challenge is to get the robot to move on a surface similar to ice. "Robots on ice - it's different from anything we've done before," said LeGate.

He described the robot as having four hard wheels all going in the same direction, with traction control.

Besides building robots the group has a media team that works on newsletters, web page design and animation.

He calls the club an academic club made up of "electronic nuts, programmers and people that like to weld."

The robotics team travels to Minneapolis, Minn. for the North Star Regionals on April 1-4, with competition between 108 teams. "We're only competing against 54," said LeGate.

While these are the only two competitions the robotics team is signed up for, if things go well, LeGate said, "there's a possibility that we go to the championship series in Atlanta.

Stimulus package

Superintendent Rebecca Rodocker told the board they should know more by Monday about what the federal government stimulus package will look like. She said according to information she received from the Illinois Association of School Boards, Sherrard schools should receive an increase in Title 1 from the federal government of $41,300 next year and $175,100 increase from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. "Forty percent of our funding comes from the federal government," said Rodocker.

Construction money was removed from the stimulus package, she added. "There's not a lot of new building going on in Illinois," she said. She added that people move to certain school districts based on the reputation of the schools. She encouraged all board members and members of the audience to contact their senators about supporting the schools. "Call your senators and let them know what needs to be done," she said.

The district's building and grounds committee met with the architect on Feb. 2 and discussed the 10-year health-life-safety review. The architect will bring a list of work to the March meeting with the a board decision on HLS set for April.

The board discussed whether it was necessary for all school principals to attend each school board meeting. A consensus was that not every principal needed to attend the meeting, but they did need to be available by telephone, in case there was something the board needs to ask.

School board election

Sherrard CUSD #200 has a race going for four school board positions at the April 7 election. Three of the four current board members are seeking reelection - Tim Arbet, Larry Stone and Janeice Viernow. Rene Fay decided to not run for the board again. Three other Sherrard area residents will also be on the ballot - Art Meyers, Melissa Ernat and Owen Engstrom.

In other business the board:

• Approved the 2009-2010 school calendar, with school beginning on July 29, 2009 and ending May 28, 2010 with a half day of school, pending no extra snow days.

• Learned that special district wide Veteran's Day programs will be held every other year, with any 2009 Veteran's Day activities on Nov. 11 decided by the individual schools.

• Agreed to employ Linda Erickson, head cook, Sherrard Elementary School, increase from 7.2 hours per day to 7.75 hours per day; Trena McGonigle supervisor, Winola Elementary School, increase from three hours per day to 3.25 hours per day; Glenda Docherty, head cook, Winola Elementary School, increase from 7.5 hours per day to 7.75 hours per day; Lacey Woodward, supervisor, Sherrard Elementary School, 1.5 hours per day @ $7.75 per hour, effective immediately; Volunteer Coach: Rob Bowers, softball and Sean McCollum, baseball; Matt Hutchins, assistant varsity baseball, per contract stipend.