A+ summer maintenance

Shiloh school looks at long-term plans for staff, solar power

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HUME — Summer maintenance — including replacement of the gym bleachers‚ is well underway, the Shiloh School board learned during its June meeting Monday, June 17.

The board members received a first-hand look at the progress of replacing the gym seats. The school district saved money by ordering the boards to replace the present pine boards. District maintenance director Dick Wagoner and summer workers are installing and staining the new benches, Interim Superintendent of Schools Allen Hall explained. The same metal support system is being used after they were judged in good shape.

The old bleacher boards — 1 foot by 16 foot — are stacked at one end of the gym and are for sale, for $6.50 each, Hall said. He noted if someone wanted several of the boards the price could be cheaper. He said the old boards have no knots in them.

In other business, Hall reported the board cannot give final approval the 2019-2020 calendar because it was rejected by the Illinois State Board of Education. The issue is with two school improvement days. He said the ISBE emailed the district that a waiver is not necessary for the two days but when the calendar was submitted it was rejected.

It may be as late as August before the ISBE gets back to the district, he said. Hall will have a school calendar for board approval in July, without the school improvement days, which would mean two more days of attendance.

The school district still does not have any applicants for the school resource officer, Hall reported. The salary of $44,000 is for nine months and that appears to be a sticking point, he said.

“Most are looking for a 12-month job,” he said.

Hall said he believes someone will eventually come along — perhaps after retiring from a police or sheriff’s department — to take the job.

The only other alternative is to pay for a 12-month position and the resource officer would work three months for the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department. The school district would pay for the three months of employment, Hall said, because Edgar County does not have the money.

For the time being, the job posting will remain active.

Several area schools districts are investigating whether to install solar panels to help offset electrical costs, Hall said. There are many different companies reaching out, including one employing a retired superintendent of schools to make sales calls.

Hall said the solar panels can be placed on site, on the roof or on property owned by the school district. After making several calls, Hall said no school district has yet signed a contract for solar panels. Monticello was close, he said, but when the school attorney looked at the contract, he advised not to sign it.

Shiloh’s rate is already low compared to other areas of the state, Hall said, noting his inclination is to not be in any hurry to jump on the solar panel bandwagon.

Board president David Smith noted the district owns an eight-acre plot that could be used while principal Beth Harbaugh mentioned the former football field.

Representatives from F.E. Moran Security Solutions of Champaign came to the school to look over the fire alarm system — which Hall thinks is original to the building.

Hall said the system is in bad shape and parts for it are no longer available. It is in working order now, he said, but he has asked the company for an estimate to upgrade the system.

“It’s going to be very pricey,” he said.

The current system is not digital and does not automatically call 911 in case of an emergency. “It rings inside and outside,” he said.

There is also no sprinkler system in the school, Hall said. Technology and curriculum director Terry Sullivan said if a sprinkler system is installed Shiloh will have to erect its own water tower as the Hume water system cannot handle that load.

The intermediate staff met May 28 to begin evaluating the math curriculum, according to Harbaugh.

“They used district resources to organize, review and map concepts taught at each grade level,” she explained.

The goal is to recognize strengths, “but more importantly to isolate areas of weaknesses and strategize how to better serve the students to improve mastery of math,” she said.

The group will meet again Monday, June 24.