Unit 40 Board Updated on Facility Improvements

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Published on August 27 2013 1:25 am
Last Updated on August 27 2013 12:05 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham Unit 40 school district has undertaken several improvement projects in recent months, particularly during the summer break.  Unit 40 Business Manager Rem Woodruff presented a PowerPoint show to the school board Monday on the projects undertaken, a number of which have been completed.

Highlights, by building:

Edgewood Grade School--exterior landscaping and new sidewalks, plus painting and floor refinishing in the gym

Central Grade School--updated computer network, stopped water leaking into the gym, repainting gym walls

Early Learning Center--improvements to the cafeteria and multi-purpose room

Southside Grade School--considerable playground work, eliminated water ponding area, landscape work

Effingham Junior High School--installation of plexiglass in gaps around the gym floor, resealing the gym floor, limestone on the track

Effingham High School--gym floors cleaned and resealed and remarked, replacing of the track surface, construction of the safe entrance to the school office

The Board also heard plans for a trip by the Effingham High School band to New York City in April 2014.  Director Peter Manzi said the tour will run from April 1-6, but will only mean 2-1/2 lost school days.  The band will perform on the observation deck of the Space Shuttle Intrepid, will participate in a clinic with the director of a Broadway show and accompany some of the performers in the show, and will see the sights.

The trip will cost $900 tops per student and Manzi said fundraisers are already in the works.  Manzi noted that contributions on behalf of band students, for a particular student or through an anonymous gift can be made through the EHS Band Boosters or by contacting Manzi.

Effingham High School Assistant Principal Cody Lewis presented information on how the graduation rate is increasing at EHS.  Lewis said the graduation rate is projected to increase from 78% last year to almost 91% for the past school year, once the numbers are in.  He said a host of people should be credited for the increase, including the administration, parents and students, student services, the AIM Program, the special education staff, a decrease in expulsions, and the Aspire and Pathways alternative education programs.

The Board heard that District enrollment is down 100 students from a year ago, including 45 fewer students at the junior high school and what Superintendent Mark Doan termed "one of the lowest enrollments we've seen" in Kindergarten.  Board members also approved hazardous school bus routes within the 1-1/2 mile extra-territorial jurisdiction that will now qualify for funding assistance for the District, and retained a firm that gets the State to recalculate the District's State Aid.  Doan said the District should receive just over $20,000 more than was expected, with the firm getting 15% of the increase found.

The Board named member Laurie King the Unit 40 representative to the Illinois Association of School Boards' Governing Board.  In personnel moves, the Unit 40 board hired Holly Borton as a paraprofessional, approved leaves of absence for Kelsey Baker and Dana Keller through the Family and Medical Leave Act, and accepted resignations from Brittany Laue as a paraprofessional and from Jarielle Kemme as high school assistant softball coach.