Mt. Vernon Register-News

February 13, 2014

D-80 given major state grant

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — District 80 Schools have been awarded a state grant for up to $250,000 to help pay for an upcoming project to replace the roof on the Dr. Andy Hall Early Education Center.

The matching grant in question comes from the Illinois State Board of Education. It will cover about half of the cost of replacing the Hall roof, a project estimated at roughly $500,000.

The rest of the funding will come from the District 80 Operation and Maintenance Fund.

Superintendent Mike Green said the roof replacement at the Hall site is sorely needed.

“It’s close to 20 years old and it’s leaking in a lot of areas,” Green said of the current roof, which covers the school and gym. “There’s quite a large area.”

Green announced the grant award at a meeting Wednesday night of the District 80 Board of Education.

He said the roof replacement will be completed this upcoming summer.

“We’ll have the roof replaced during the summer when the students are on summer break,” Green said.

Also on Wednesday, the board approved an amended 2013-2014 school calendar. Now the last day of school for District 80 will be June 13, instead of June 20 as was scheduled before.

So far this school year, the district has used nine of its 10 allotted emergency days because of the heavy snow this winter.

With the amended calendar, the district has reduced its number of emergency days for this year from 10 to five.

This was done so the district could apply for “Act of God” days from the state for four of its nine snow days this year. Act of God days do not have to be made up at the end of the year.

Green explained that the Act of God designation can only be given to snow days taken after a district’s total number of emergency days has been used.

By reducing the number of emergency days from 10 to five, the district can receive four Act of God days and only have to make up five of its snow days at the end of the year.

The district’s spring break holiday this year will not be affected by the snow days, Green said.

“It will allow us to have Act of God days for the four,” Green said. “We have nine days so if we use five on emergency, the other four will be Act of God days.”

In addition Wednesday, the board approved applying for a roughly $44,000 school safety grant from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.

Assistant Superintendent Aletta Lawrence said the funding, if received, can be used for installing reinforced doors, shatterproof glass or front door locks.

District 80 would likely utilize the grant to install shatterproof glass at the Hall building, Lawrence said.

Other District 80 Board actions Wednesday included:

n Discussion of the possibility of creating a Pee-Wee basketball program for third, fourth and fifth graders at District 80.

n Approval of allowing the superintendent to negotiate an agreement for a two-year extension of the district’s transportation contract.

n Hearing of a report on the 21st Century Community Learning Centers STARS Academy, an after-school program.

n Discussion of the district’s gas/electrical contract and the board’s 2014-2015 goals.