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Column

Community Pulse: Interesting first year at Morris District 54

Shannon Dudek
Shannon Dudek

It’s hard to believe that I am completing my first year as Morris District 54 Superintendent.

To say the year has flown by is an understatement, and it seems like an eternity since I was interviewing and accepting the position. I consider my first year to be a success, and I look forward to many more as the leader of Morris No. 54.

We’ve had quite the year.

With the passing of Mr. and Mrs. Wendling, the year started very tragically, and I regret being unable to work with Mrs. Wendling. Remarkably, I witnessed the school and community join together to support those that were affected by her loss, and her influence will live on for many years.

We also consolidated White Oak Elementary and Shabbona schools to form one, unified school environment at White Oak Elementary. Students, staff, and parents have worked very hard to make it a seamless transition, and if you didn’t know any better, you would think this happened years ago.

We also improved our building in some important ways. We added a comprehensive security system that allows monitoring of the school building and outside areas.

A roof project was completed at White Oak Elementary that will extend the life of the current roof by 20 years and saved over $1 million versus adding a new roof. And, we deposited over $320,000 of TIF funds to the debt service fund to help offset large future bond payments.

Unfortunately, the state of Illinois is only releasing one of four transportation and categorical payments, and the state of Illinois currently owes the District $532,100.94.

That money will be paid, but not until next fiscal year. Had the state made all of their FY17 payments to the district, the budget would be balanced.

Great things are happening at District 54. The community’s support does not go unnoticed, and we’re fortunate to work with tremendous parents and students as we continue to build the best possible education environment.

The future is bright at Morris 54!

• Shannon Dudek is the superintendent of Morris School District 54. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.

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