Schools officials may move to new site

DANVILLE — Danville District 118 school board members will consider an offer Wednesday to lease the MT Systems building that will allow the district to grow its middle school alternative program.

Several months ago, Mark Church, a former Danville resident and District 118 parent, approached Vicki Haugen, president and CEO of Vermilion Advantage, about offering his MT Systems building at 110 E. Williams St. to the district. Church, who owns MT Systems, relocated his business to Canton, Ohio.

Superintendent Alicia Geddis said, “He approached Vicki to make us a generous offer of the building and the furnishings — chairs, desks, lamps, plants, office supplies.

“It’s nothing short of a blessing to District 118,” she said. “It’s in move-in condition. He’s a great supporter of the district.”

Board members will consider leasing the building, which is near the Jackson Building, for $24,500 for one year, with an option to purchase it.

If the board approves the lease, the district plans to move its administrative offices out of the Jackson Building, which needs a new roof and other repairs and renovations to bring it up to code.

“We’ve done a life safety study on this building,” she said of the Jackson Building. “It costs too much money to fix this building.”

Relocating some of the district’s administrative offices to the new building will free up space to open a two-classroom middle school alternative program in the Jackson Building to alleviate overcrowding at Kenneth D. Bailey Academy.

“KDBA is overcapacity, so we’re bringing the kids here,” she said.

Geddis’ plan is to transform the boardroom into a lunchroom, and the superintendent’s office and the business office areas in the Jackson Building into two classrooms, each one accommodating up to 17 middle school students. The 34 students are ones who don’t necessarily have behavior issues but rather need to catch up and work on credit recovery, she said.

“We need to stop retaining kids and focus on those who need academic recovery,” she said. “We need to pull them out of the traditional classroom setting and help them with the skills and credit recovery they need.”

Eventually, all of the administrative offices from the Jackson Building as well as the district’s food service and buildings and grounds offices at the annex building will be moved into the MT Systems building.

Last month, the board approved expanding the district’s middle school alternative program to allow a maximum of 44 students to attend the program in two classrooms at the Boys and Girls Club on Griffin Street for this upcoming school year that starts Monday.

Also on Wednesday, board members will:

• Consider putting on public display the district’s proposed 2016-2017 budget until next month.

The tentative budget shows $74.6 million in revenue, about $4.8 million more in revenue than the year before, and projects $74.56 million in expenditures for the year, which is about $4.9 million more than last year. The proposed budget shows a beginning fund balance of $26.52 million and an ending fund balance of $26.55 million.

Geddis said that although the district has been reassured by the state that it will receive 100 percent of its state-aid allocation, the district will lose one of its federal categorical allocations amounting to about $900,000.

• Hear a presentation from Bob Richard, executive director of the Danville Public School Foundation, about a mobile science lab that will be ordered for the district and put into use during the 2017-2018 school year.

• Consider approving updates to the kindergarten through fifth-grade curriculum. The state’s adoption of the New Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts, Math and Science prompted the updates.

• Consider revising the balanced calendar at Northeast Elementary Magnet School to add two half days on Feb. 8 and April 19 to accommodate professional development workshops for teachers on those days.

• Consider accepting a bid of $159,210 from Catlin Insurance, represented by American Central Insurance Services, to provide property-casualty insurance for the 2016-2017 school year. The amount is a 9.5 percent increase compared with last year.

• Consider accepting a bid of $55,591 from CPG of Uniontown, Ohio, for computer/copier paper. The cost is $1,688 less than last year.

• Consider accepting a bid of $275,000 from Prairie Farms of Urbana for dairy produce products and a bid of $75,000 from Vermilion Valley Produce of Danville for vegetables and fruit.

COMING UP

The Danville District 118 school board will hold its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St.

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