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July 15, 2018

6/28/2018 11:02:00 AM
Unit 2 trying to fit bus barn into existing budget
Robinson Unit 2 school board members want to be certain when they build a new transportation facility they do it right and in a cost-effective manner.

During their meeting Monday, board members continued discussing plans for a proposed facility that would be built north of Robinson High School. They want a quality building that will last for decades, but they don't want to put any additional costs on taxpayers.

That is why they are looking at ways to cut the architect's estimated cost of the project from about $3 million to between $2 and $2.2 million.

"That's doable," Superintendent Josh Quick said, explaining the district would be able to pay cash and still have a buffer in the building fund.

There is currently a balance there, created specifically to pay for a transportation facility. "We've been saving 10 years for this," board President Dennis Inboden explained.

The latest proposal would include a metal building with three bays for maintenance and washing as well as office, storage and meeting space. Outside, buses would be partially parked beneath an awning. There would also be at least 100 more parking spaces for other vehicles, which would beneficial during large school events. These plans, however, represent the top of the line and the board is willing to consider other options, including constructing the facility in phases.

One possible change would be to move central supply storage into a separate building, Inboden suggested. The storage building could be built at less per square foot while cutting the overall price of the transportation facility.

Such a building could be next to the transportation facility, or even on the properties Unit 2 owns across Highland Avenue from RHS.

"I'm not a big fan of crossing that street back and forth," board member Greg Bachelor said.

Inboden agreed, adding the district has plenty of land on the north side of the street.

The goal is to have the facility ready to replace the current one on South Jackson Street by the end of calendar year 2019.

Also Monday, the board gave final approval to changes in the 2017-18 budget.

The changes in the Education Fund reflect a slight increase in local revenues and a significant drop in some expenses.

Another change, in Debt Service, reflects the payment of $4.15 million to pay off a 2003 QZAB bond that helped pay for construction of RHS.

Quick was pleased with the final numbers, which leave the district in the black. "I hope we can sustain that for a while," he said.

The board also accepted bids for various necessities for the coming school year.

Prairie Farms will provide milk, while Aunt Millie's will again provide baked goods for the cafeterias. Best One will provide tires and Wabash Valley FS will supply fuel.

Blackberry Farms and Rush Enterprises will supply various other fluids for the bus fleet. O'Reilly's Auto Parts will provide brake parts and Birkey's will provide filters. Organ Batteries will supply batteries.

The district is also buying two used buses for $77,376. They should be delivered the first week of July.

In personnel matters, Sara Pinnell was hired as a reading teacher at Washington Elementary School. Jill Jansen and Hannah Dean were named as Nuttall Middle School flag girl sponsors. Also, Melinda Evans was picked as an NMS assistant Scholastic Bowl coach and Maggie Chenault was selected to coach NMS girls track.

The resignation of Janna Surrells, RHS special education teacher, was accepted. It takes effect at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

In other business, the board:

• Changed the time of the regular monthly board meeting, effective with the July 16 meeting. Meetings will still be on the third Monday of the month with the exception of January and February, but they will now begin at 4 p.m. rather than 7 p.m.

• Learned the RHS TEAMS competed at the national level in Atlanta during the weekend. The local students were pitted against 149 other teams, including two others from Illinois and one from Turkey.

• Applied for the state revolving technology loan for grades nine through 12. Unit 2 is seeking $92,950.

• Approved student fees and cafeteria prices for the 2018-19 school year. All are unchanged except the ChromeBook fee, which was cut to $10.

• Approved Adriann Randolph and Taren Williamson as this year's recipients of the Meadows Scholarships.

• Approved the athletic trainer agreement with Crawford Memorial Hospital.

• Adopted the prevailing wage.

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