You are the owner of this article.
Decatur school board discusses renovations, budget

Decatur school board discusses renovations, budget

Bouchard_Fred 08.27.19.jpg

Fred Bouchard, assistant superintendent of support services, answers questions on Tuesday at Hope Academy during a meeting for parents and community members to weigh in on proposed boundary changes as part as the district's facilities plan.

DECATUR — Stephen Decatur Middle School renovations on project-based learning classrooms are expected to be complete by the end of the month, according to district officials. 

Updates on the progress of renovations to Decatur public schools facilities involved in the districts wide-ranging BOLD facilities plan were presented during the Tuesday school board meeting. The plan has been a focal point of the school board's vision to turn District 61 into a destination district for families. 

The update comes after some parents reported several issues with the middle school last month, one being that renovations were not complete by the time the school opened. This is the first year that students from Thomas Jefferson Middle School have joined the Stephen Decatur students in one building. 

Fred Bouchard, assistant superintendent of support services, said some of the buildings and grounds staff are working evening shifts to finish the work without disturbing students. He said classrooms would be finished by Sept. 20.

Areas that will be addressed include: north classroom area restrooms, pit space outside library, flooring for hallways, signage in the parking lot and lighting in the cafeteria. 

Pershing Early Learning Center received three new playgrounds with soft surface play, air conditioning, a new drop ceiling and LED lighting in the hallways. Enterprise Elementary School received air conditioning, barn foundation and utilities and flooring in the halls, Bouchard said. Hope Academy has new classrooms off of the stage, a new washing machine and dryer for life skills and a new office window in the reception area. William Harris Elementary School received three new office areas, three new window walls, four new chill rooms, new classroom space and an improved visitor management process. 

"The window walls creates a safe entry into our schools," Bouchard said. "Visitors who come in here don't have an opportunity to get right into the hallway, they have to go through the office." 

The plan also comes with the discussion of reevaluating boundaries. A committee of parents and school officials, was formed in February to discuss the concerns regarding boundaries and the potential of changing them to better suit the needs of parents and students. The committee meets monthly and is considering changing the boundaries based on neighborhood and diversity aspects. Surveys have been sent out to parents for their input and can be accessed on the district's website

In other business, the school board voted 7-0 for this year's tentative budget. Todd Covault, the district's chief operational officer, said the budget is balanced. Total expenditures are budgeted at $165 million which includes capital projects, transportation costs as well as other operational needs.  

Board members also voted 7-0 to issue up to $28 million in working cash bonds to help pay for facilities renovations. The district also plans to issue health/life safety bonds to help pay for the decommissioning of Johns Hill and Durfee schools and construction of a new joint facility. Board documents say the amount of working cash bonds used for facilities would depend on the health/life safety authorization. 

Remember this? 21 photos of Decatur high school activities through the years

Contact Analisa Trofimuk at (217) 421-7985. Follow her on Twitter: @AnalisaTro


Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News