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Dist. 17 plans hearing on 6.4 percent bump in tax levy

Board also learns of troubles regarding practice space for cheerleaders

CHANNAHON — The Channahon District 17 school board last week approved an estimated levy for 2012.

The total EAV of property in the district is estimated at $623.6 million, which includes $29.9 million in new construction — a reduction from last year. Based on these values, the district will request a levy of $17.5 million for 2012 taxes payable in the summer of 2013.

The estimated property taxes to be levied are a 6.4 percent increase over the 2011 levy, and since the levy will be more than 105 percent of the prior year’s extension, there will be a public hearing before final approval on Dec. 17.

The school board also heard news about the district’s new competitive cheerleading team. The first competition for the team, composed of seventh and eighth graders, was two weeks ago and, according to Athletic Director Brad Homerding, they did quite well.

Setting up practice times and locations for the team has been a bit of an ordeal, though, Superintendent Dr. Karin Evans told the board. The special tumbling mats were loaned to the team by Minooka Community High School, but after the Channahon district had cleaned and cleared out an old industrial arts room at Three Rivers School, they found the wide mats didn’t quite fit in.

After exploring options for practice and storage facilities at the other three Channahon schools, the park district, and the high school, it was finally decided the team could practice in the common area at Three Rivers School, pulling the mats into the room as they were needed.

The school board last week also discussed the Catalyst class size, which is currently at 35 students – a large jump from previous years. Catalyst is the gifted program for the district’s older students (grades 5 – 8). The question was whether the class size should be reduced by dividing it into two classes.

A board member had been contacted by a parent asking about the large class size. It is the largest class in the district, administrators said, but they added that this was a very independent group of students who are able to work on their own with fewer problems for teachers to address.

“There are a lot of things to consider besides just class size,” Three Rivers School Principal Susan Kavich said. “In this particular case, a lower class size doesn’t necessarily mean better achievement. . . a lower class size is better for special needs students, though.”

Channahon Junior High School Principal Chad Uphoff said that might be true, but it is a good time to address the question.

“Thirty-five is a very legitimate number to debate creating another class,” he said. “Thirty-three to thirty-five is the number when you start thinking about an additional class.”

Administrators said it would be hard to justify reducing this class to 18 when there are lower grade levels and special needs groups with greater class sizes. There was no decision made, as the item was only up for discussion at the meeting.

The school board also made several personnel decisions, including hiring Colleen Rittof as bus aide; Sue McCarthy as a long-term substitute; Chrissy Thomas as a substitute bus driver; Ken Reitz as a substitute cafeteria worker; and Kevin Smith as a substitute custodian.

Shanna Deshotel transferred from part-time to full-time custodian, and Tammy Zadel and Danielle Santor were hired for the extra duty positions of 7th grade volleyball coach and 6th grade assistant volleyball coach, respectively.

Resignations were also accepted from bus driver Cheryl Kucer, substitute teacher Jason Boersma, and part-time custodian Kelly Bargo.

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