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December 11, 2019

10/23/2019 10:45:00 AM
Part of Unit 2's ex-Heath facility offered to RFPD dept.
Part of Robinson Unit 2's South Jackson Street property may soon have a new owner.

The Unit 2 board Monday voted to transfer ownership of the seven southernmost lots of the property to the Robinson Fire Protection District. The lots, previously used for bus parking, contain no structures and adjoin the Robinson Fire Station property.

The fire protection district board still must vote to approve the transfer before the transfer can be finalized, Unit 2 Superintendent Josh Quick said.

The remaining five or six lots, which include the former L.S. Heath and Sons building that served as the Unit 2 central office for many years, remain the property of the school district. Quick said the board will consider offering the property for sale by bid once all district materials have been moved out.

The board, meeting at Washington Elementary School, handled several other matters during the meeting, including awarding a contract for paving at Nuttall Middle School and approving the annual budget report.

A parking lot behind NMS will be the next Unit 2 property to be paved after the board awarded Ambraw Asphalt the contract.

Part of the area is gravel and badly rutted. Some is paved but in deteriorating condition.

Plans call for the area to be paved by Ambraw, while school maintenance personnel will install a concrete pad nearby and move the school's dumpster to it. This will allow adding four or five new parking spaces.

Ambraw's total bid, which covers basic repairs and filling in low areas, as well as a new top layer of pavement, was $33,800.

In a related matter, the board gave formal approval to a contract with Consolidated Concrete.

In September, the company was awarded the bid to do drainage and concrete work at the new transportation facility on West Main. The bid of $97,800 was considerably lower than the architect's estimate.

The project includes installation of new culverts and changes to approaches at the facility. The Illinois Department of Transportation and the City of Robinson have approved the plans.

The annual audit, performed by Kemper CPA Group, brought good news. Unit 2's long-term debt is being paid down at a fast pace.

The district was issued a "clean" report, showing it had good internal controls and was in compliance with Illinois State Board of Education accounting practices, as well as federal requirements for the various federally funded programs in which Unit 2 participates.

The board hopes to bring its debt level down even more by refinancing outstanding bonds.

Board members also approved working with PMA Financial Services on the possibility of refinancing under current lower interest rates. The bonds account for about half of the district's debt and, if refinanced, could save Unit 2 $125,000 to $250,000.

In personnel matters, Barbara Miller was hired as a physical education paraprofessional at WES and Lincoln Elementary School. Board members also hired Michelle Hatfield as an LES reading aide, Blayze Guyer as an LES evening custodian, Theresa Marlow as a Robinson High School lunchroom supervisor and Sherry Heidorn as transportation secretary.

Mark Blagrave and Chris Weber were approved as volunteer assistant basketball coaches at NMS. John Hatfield resigned as a part-time custodian at RHS and a leave of absence was granted WES reading aide Jacqueline Hoalt. The retirement of RHS secretary Julie Blagrave was approved.

The board also heard good news about the school lunch program. Since switching to Opaa!, an outside contractor, more students are buying school lunches. In fact, the only complaint board member Mary Jane Parker said she had heard was that there were now too many people in line for food at NMS.

Quick said state and federal reimbursements for school meals will increase because of the improved numbers.

NMS's cross-country team's recent success was also cheered. The girls team finished third in the state, up from eighth last year, and two girls ranked in the top 25 statewide. The boys team was 12th overall, up from 15th in 2018.

In other business, the board:

• Approved support for several issues that will be considered by voting delegates during the upcoming Illinois Association of School Boards convention. Proposed resolutions cover topics such as background checks for substitute teachers, board member compensation and whether local districts should be permitted to allow trained personnel to carry guns on school grounds.

• Was told the LES fifth-grade musical Winnie the Pooh, is 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Tickets are available at the school.

• Discussed updating its goals.

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