If you experience difficulty viewing this message, you can view it online here.
Fall 2011  
Firm predicts financial stability for Mattoon schools
The Happenings in MHS' JROTC Program
Riddle Elementary School Open House
Mattoon FFA Member attends District Reporter's Workshop
Mattoon FFA Members Attend Illinois Leadership Camp
Green Wave men wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness
Safety on the School Bus
Mattoon CUSD #2
1701 Charleston Avenue
Mattoon IL 61938
Tel: 217-238-8850
Web: www.mattoon.k12.il.us
Email: Newsletter@mcusd2.com
Firm predicts financial stability for Mattoon schools

Mattoon school district's five-year financial outlook suggests that district fund balances should grow at a slow, yet steady pace.

The information was presented at the September school board meeting from the PMA Financial Network. PMA works with school districts throughout Illinois on budgeting and multi-year financial projections.

PMA uses a dynamic software program which includes five years of audited financial reports, proposed budget, tax extensions, property values, student enrollment, staffing, compensation, and benefits to assist school districts with short-term and long-term financial planning.

Superintendent Larry Lilly said that prior fund balances were used to pay for major construction projects at the high school in 2005 and the middle school in 2008 and to make $4 million worth of elementary school bond payments to keep the property tax rate down.

PMA Vice-President Howard Crouse said that in recent years, the State of Illinois failed to pay its share of educational costs which has created a hardship for Illinois school districts.

Tom Sherman, assistant superintendent for business, added, "The state owed Mattoon school district about $500,000 at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2011."

Fiscal year 2012 is no exception. In the FY12 state budget, General State Aid to school districts was cut 5 percent from last year's level. In addition, to the state aid reduction that Sherman predicted the State will not make all scheduled payments for special education and transportation again this year.

"Despite major financial setbacks from the State, the school district is slowly building its fund balance," said Crouse.

Although Illinois has failed to meet financial obligations to schools, state officials rate school districts with an annual financial profile score.

Crouse told the board that the score is based upon a variety of factors including fund balance, revenue-to-expenditure ratios, cash-on-hand, and debt. Scores will not be released until April. However, Crouse projected Mattoon's score to be 3.45 out of a possible 4.0. This rating would place Mattoon in the second highest of four profile categories.

"The district has positioned itself for financial stability by reducing expenses over the last two years," said Crouse.

Lilly later cautioned, "While we are pleased with the PMA report, we must remain cautious and conservative with our financial decisions in this difficult economic time." "Five-year projections are helpful in planning; however, a lot can and will happen during that time."

The Happenings in MHS' JROTC Program

It is a season of change at the JROTC program with COL James Berenz taking the reins as the new Senior Army Instructor after the retirement of LTC Ronald Yelk. COL Berenz brings with him a new energy to the program and looks forward to continuing the traditions of this outstanding leadership program celebrating its 77th year here at Mattoon High School.

Another change is the new Raider Push-up Team which many saw for the first time at the first home football game. It is a new tradition started in order to support our school and show some team spirit. Many people enjoy their performance and look forward to the next game when the Green Wave put some points on the board. Pictured is Calvin Barret, Andy Bell, Dylan Clapham, and Connor Cornwell who led the team by doing the push-ups on the stretcher. Not pictured at this time is Dalton Shaffer who was changing after doing the Color Guard for the beginning of the game.

Lastly, in celebration of 9/11, the Pana Fire Department asked the Drill team to lead the parade with the Colors of the Nation and all the Armed Forces Flags. Although it was their Labor Day Parade they celebrated the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 with Police and Fire Departments from around the State to represent those 1st Responders who perished when the Towers came down on that dreadful day. If you have never been to this Parade maybe it is time to go next year as there were over 20,000 people lining the streets in this town of 5,000 people. It was an honor for these students to present the Colors. Pictured are Faithe Butler, Dalton Shaffer, Andy Bell, Dakota Couch, Dylan Clapham, Jazmin Katz, Kari Smith, and Calvin Barrett. The JROTC appreciated this honor and the program continues to do great things for the community and representing this school district whenever given the opportunity.

Riddle Elementary School Open House

The 9th annual Riddle Elementary School Open House was held on Thursday September 15 from 6:00-7:30 PM. Hundreds of students and their families enjoyed tours of the school and classrooms. PTA members were on hand to greet visitors and enjoy refreshments donated by Riddle families. Another favorite place to visit during the Open House was the book fair. Proceeds from the book fair are designated to the library for the purchase of additional books and resources for students and teachers.


Zoie Thomason, 3rd grade, and her grandparents Cindi and Ron Thomason take a moment to pose by the eagle created in art class.

Brina Thompson, 5th grade, poses by her "rock star" photo with her brothers Bradon (3rd grade),and Brinton (1st grade), and their mother, Tina. 

Mattoon FFA Member attends District Reporter's Workshop

Alex Elliott of the Mattoon FFA Chapter attended the District IV Reporter's Workshop on September 8, 2011. This event was held at Lake Land College in Mattoon, IL. Several Reporters as well as a variety of Section Officers from District IV attended the event.

Chris Steppig, Illinois State FFA Reporter, conducted the workshop, which focused on teaching the students how to contact the media, report news, and take pictures. In addition, Reporters learned their duties for the upcoming year, and not only learned how to improve their reporting abilities, but also improved their leadership and communication skills through various activities.

Attached is a photo of the workshop.
Pictured Left to Right: Illinois State Reporter Chris Steppig and Alex Elliott

Mattoon FFA Members Attend Illinois Leadership Camp

By Alex Elliott, Mattoon FFA Reporter

Gabe Stoll and Trey Utsler of the Mattoon FFA Chapter recently attended the Illinois FFA Leadership Camp, held at Allerton Park near Monticello from July 27 to July 30, 2011. They were among over 300 campers from across the state that gathered to develop leadership skills and learn more about the FFA. Campers participated in a challenge course to develop teamwork, Ag Olympics, FFA Power Sessions, dance, and a large water balloon fight. They also listened to presentations from the Illinois FFA Alumni, Illinois Foundation FFA, hypnotist Dr. Morton Ford, and a guest speaker Harlan "Butch" Cotter.

Attached is a photo of the members that attended camp from Mattoon.
Pictured left to right: Trey Utsler and Gabe Stoll

Green Wave men wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness

Mattoon school administrators and the MHS football coach are donning pink to help Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center increase breast cancer awareness and encourage women to schedule regular mammograms, a quick screen that can saves lives.

Superintendent Larry Lilly, Kris Maleske, principal, Arland Williams Elementary School, Bruce Barnard, principal, Riddle Elementary School and Mattoon High School football coach Troy Johnson are featured in banners and advertisements wearing pink polo shirts as way to encourage others to wear pink and for women to schedule a mammogram.

"I am proud to support this program's message of preventive care for the women in my family, our school district, and the community," said Lilly.

Through its Power of Pink campaign, SBLHC is asking people in the community to wear pink each Friday in October to encourage women to schedule a mammogram and make a difference in the lives of the women they love. Pink wear can be purchased at Wal-Mart stores in Mattoon and Charleston, who are partnering with SBL to raise breast cancer awareness. Any funds raised through this community awareness effort will support SBL Mobile Mammography providing mammograms for women in need.

Lilly, Maleske, Barnard and Johnson are part of a team of 25 well-known men in the community who stepped up to assist in the fight against breast cancer.

In addition, SBLHC is inviting community members to participate in a group human pink ribbon photo set for 12:30 p.m. Oct. 21 on the Health Center's front lawn. Attendees are asked to dress in pink wear to join the human pink ribbon for the aerial photo. The more people dressed in pink, the better the photo will be. The rain date is Oct. 28.

More than 8,000 women in Illinois are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Of those, 2,200 die from the disease. Early detection tests for breast cancer save many thousands of lives each year, and many more lives could be saved if even more women took advantage of these tests. Early detection of breast cancer improves the chances that breast cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully.

The mobile mammography van helps provide mammograms to women who may not otherwise have access to, or be able to afford these life-saving preventive screens, stopping at area county health departments, SBL extended campus locations, banks and other locations. It is available to all women regardless of their financial status. Women who qualify will receive their mammograms free through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer program.

Women with insurance that covers their annual mammograms are also welcome. Appointments are strongly encouraged, though walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment for a mammogram on the mobile van at a location near you, call 1-800-639-5929. To find out if you qualify for free screens, call 1-800-331-1689. Women who schedule their annual mammogram in October will receive a large Power of Pink tote.

Safety on the School Bus

As transportation director, I believe that my responsibilities go beyond training school bus drivers to operate safely. As I begin my seventh year as director of the district's transportation department, I once again visited the elementary schools to speak to the students on being safe in everything they do. Many students remember me from year to year and I remind them that I am 'The Bus Guy'. Seldom does a week go by that a student doesn't approach me in public and remind me where they attend school. It is difficult for them to remember my name so I am always introduced to the adult with the student as 'The Bus Guy'.

During my 30 minute presentation, I discuss many different aspects of being safe in everything we do everyday. The proper way of getting on and off the bus, being a safe rider, bus-stop conduct, and what to do if approached by a stranger are examples of the topics discussed. The format of my presentation changes from year to year but the message is always the same, be safe in everything you do, at school, at home and when we are playing with friends. Following my presentation all students participate in a school bus evacuation drill. Students are reminded of the location of the many safety features on the school bus. Students are then directed on how to safely exit the bus through the emergency exit at the rear of the bus.

I encourage parents and guardians to discuss my safety program with their students as this helps them remember the many different things that were covered.

In closing, I want to welcome our families to the new school year and extend an invitation to stop by the Transportation Office at 1320 Dewitt. Have a good school year and give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.

Mark S. Nelson
Transportation Director
Mattoon School District

Important Dates in Oct - Dec

Oct 07: Dismiss 2 1/2 hrs early
Oct 10: Columbus Day: NO SCHOOL
Oct 20: Dismiss 2 1/2 hrs early
Oct 20: Parent Teacher Conferences
Oct 20: Report Cards Home

Nov 11: Veteran's Day: NO SCHOOL
Nov 23: End of 2nd 5-week Progress Period
Nov 24: Thanksgiving: NO SCHOOL
Nov 30: 2nd Progress Reports Sent

Dec 21: End of First Semester
Dec 22 - Jan 01: Winter Break - NO SCHOOL

Jan 02: School Resumes

Sign Up for Emergency Text Notifications and School Closings!

You can sign up to receive Text Alerts from Mattoon CUSD #2 by visiting our webpage.

Standard text messaging rates will apply.

Sign up here...

Important Phone Numbers

Administrative Service Center:
(217) 238-8850

Hawthorne School:
(217) 238-8800

Mattoon Middle School:
(217) 238-5800

Mattoon High School:
(217) 238-7800

Riddle Elementary School:
(217) 238-3800

Williams Elementary School:
(217) 238-2800

Transportation Office:
(217) 238-3270

Skyward Family Access

Did you know that you can check your child's grades, attendance and even lunch balance on-line with Skyward Family Access?

To sign-up, please contact your child's school office.

Click here to login...

Mobile Mammograms

To make an appointment for a mammogram on the mobile van at a location near you, call

MMS appears on Let's Make A Deal

Mattoon Middle School science teacher Monica Genta of Mattoon appeared on the game show Let's Make a Deal Sept. 27.

Genta is a 2005 Mattoon High School graduate.

TIP: Making Article Photos BIGGER

You can click on any photo in a main article to enlarge the picture!

Click to invite a friend to receive our eNewsletter Click to unsubscribe