O’FALLON – No decision was made on how to update the boundaries of District 90, but more options were presented to the board and public. Superintendent Carrie Hruby spoke about how the committee took questions from the board and public when they met to look at those further options, which include making a fifth grade center, redrawing current boundaries in a number of ways, and creating a preschool center.
“Option C is something that we had begun looking at which would be to have a preschool center instead of a fifth grade center,” Hruby said. Then she spoke about B3 which is an option to keep the same grade levels at the current buildings, and would make the boundaries more contiguous, but would not balance free and reduced students. The board is examining whether or not that should be a priority in examining the boundary lines. This option also doesn’t add additional grade sections, so there’s a high probability of transfers. “With two sections of a grade level, those transfers would very likely still occur without yearly floating boundaries, which we do not want to do,” said Hruby.
Option C has concerns with whether it makes sense to put all of the preschool students in one building and dealing with noise levels and nap times, but according to Hruby seems to fit. Currently, 367 students are enrolled in preschool across various schools, and more are on the wait list and currently enrolling. If all preschool students are moved to one building, that frees up room for 350 additional students in the other grade levels, transfers would be considerably reduced, transitions for students would be reduced, starting and ending times for students would not be affected, and volunteer pools would be unaffected. One of the smaller open concept schools would likely be used for the preschool center, “and we could embrace the open space, make it almost like a children’s museum type of concept,” Hruby said.
Board member Matt Lloyd asked which options would be the longest term fix, and Hruby said that either the fifth grade center or preschool center would provide a five year fix and be the best options as far as longevity. Lloyd said he wanted to look further down the road. “I feel like what we’re looking at is a bridge, but what is it a bridge to,” Lloyd asked to audience applause.
The committee will meet this week to go over the options one more time. They will present information one final time over the option of having a fifth grade center, redrawing district boundaries to make them more contiguous, and having a preschool center. The board will hold a special meeting where they will listen to further information on December 5 at 6 p.m. at the District 90 office at 118 E. Washington Street.
In Other News:
• District 90 board member Steve Springer expressed concerns over the disabled veterans’ property tax exemptions and the $749,000 that the district lost last year along with the possibility of lost funds this year. Per the finance committee minutes, Business Manager Patty Cavins “then shared the estimates for levy increases, and recommends setting the levy at 4.99 percent, in order to capture all potential available funds. The group discussed the Tort and IMRF and how much to include the levy, based on the anticipated costs.” A 4.99 percent increase would net the district nearly an additional $12.2 million dollars.
• The board members passed a motion to add the County Schools Facility Sales Tax to the April 2017 ballot.