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Contractors approved for new transportation facility

Building purchased for $1 million less than at-time EAV

MINOOKA — The Minooka Grade School board of education, at its March meeting, approved seven contractors to build the new transportation facility jointly owned by the grade school and Minooka Community High School.

The 12.79-acre site on Minooka Road, formerly owned by 84 Lumber, was purchased jointly in the latter part of 2012 for $2 million, half coming from each school district. They were able to purchase the building for $1 million less than the equalized assessed value at the time.

The districts will be investing an additional $1.87 million to make the current facilities and grounds work for their needs.

Approved at the lowest, qualified bids by the grade school district were American Demolition Company at $66,235, Tri-State Enterprises (general trades) at $752,786, Nelson Fire Protection at $49,426, Cryer & Olsen (plumbing) at $107,700, Mechanical Concepts of Illinois (HVAC) at $223,000, Indicom Electric Co. at $163,290 and D.E. Thompson Excavating (site work) at $507,631.

The bids came in at $530,257 under budget, said Minooka Grade School Superintendent Al Gegenheimer.

The districts will be able to park all their vehicles on-site once the facility is built and will have more room for repairs. The buses are now parked on side streets around the current facility and at various district schools.

Work is expected to begin as early as next week, said Gegenheimer. Some equipment, which takes time to manufacture, has already been pre-ordered by the architects. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 30.

MCHS Grading Scale Survey

After reviewing results from an MCHS survey regarding a proposed change in the high school grading scale, grade school board members agreed they would keep their own scale as it is.

MCHS reached out to staff members at the three feeder school districts — Minooka, Channahon and Shorewood — for input into the grading scale survey.

Results of the survey were brought to Minooka Grade School’s education committee, which recommended not making any changes in their own scale, said Assistant Superintendent Steph Palaniuk.

Regardless of the grading scale, student expectations remain high in the district, Palaniuk said.
“Certainly our student academic scores support that,” Gegenheimer said.

Audit Thumbs Up

Minooka Grade School cafeteria manager Niguel Fink and her staff received high marks for their lunch program from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) during an audit recently, said Palaniuk.

Three of the district’s schools — the junior high, intermediate and elementary schools – were selected by the ISBE to be audited on management of ISAT tests. Again, the district received high marks and the auditor was impressed with the organization exhibited by administrators and their staff.

In other business:

Palaniuk advised the board that the district received a $2,854 library grant, which will be used for books and/ or technology updates.

The Leadership Team expects the current teaching staff ratio to be maintained for the 2014 school year, said Gegenheimer.  Some class sizes will be increased, but will still be at levels that research indicates supports efficient student learning.

One additional half time aide position has been added to the Early Childhood program, said Gegenheimer. The position is required by law due to the number of children in the program.

The board approved the student handbook for the 2014 school year.

Summer school, Jump Start and ELL classes were approved by the board. Two teachers will be needed to cover summer school, said Gegenheimer. Jump Start will require up to 10 teachers, which is designed to help select primary students with a jump start on the academic year. ELL, a weeklong class, will require four teachers to help students prevent possible regression of language skills which can occur over the summer.

All three programs are designed to prepare students for the start of the academic year, Gegenheimer said.

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