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Saratoga School District: Students are performing well

60% of 8th graders hit high marks in ELA

Saratoga students did very well on their state-required standardized tests this past school year, according to Principal Joe Zweeres. He told the Saratoga District 60C school board members Monday the results from the Illinois Assessment of Readiness testing, IAR, in reading and math during the 2018-2019 school year.

“We’re well above state average,” Zweeres said. “We’re very, very pleased with our IAR data.”

Zweeres said the PARCC scores were particularly high in ELA, or English language arts. The percentage of Saratoga students who met or exceeded expectations were 49.9 percent for third graders; 45.8 percent for fourth graders; 64.2 percent for fifth graders; 77.8 percent for sixth graders; 87.8 percent for seventh graders; and 60.3 percent for eighth graders.

The percentage who met or exceeded expectations in math were 69.9 percent for third graders; 51.4 percent for fourth graders; 61.1 percent for fifth graders; 38.9 percent for sixth graders; 37.8 percent for seventh graders; and 50 percent for eighth graders.

Zweeres also told the board that tutorial summer school begins next week and goes half-days through August. The school invites approximately 100 students to attend the teacher-led lessons each year, which will better prepare them for their next grade level.

The school board also briefly discussed the bonds the district will issue to pay for the school’s new addition. Financial advisor Jamie Rachlin shared some good news, noting that the district’s EAV continues to rise, which will add additional tax dollars to the district. The interest rates have come down “consistently over the last few months,” as well, he said.

No tax rate increases will be needed to finance the project.

Rachlin said when the board is ready to issue the bonds, it will require two board meetings. Superintendent Kathy Perry said issuance of the bonds in September or October would be a time-appropriate plan.

The building project for the new addition was approved last fall by voters in a $10.3 million referendum. Planned are a cafetorium, STEM facilities, a kitchen, a new library and classrooms. Once completed, the school will have five classrooms for each grade level.

After the meeting, Perry said the architects are currently finalizing the specifications for the project, then bid specs will be released in August or September. Groundbreaking will begin when bids are accepted.

Also Monday, the Saratoga school board approved increasing substitute teacher pay from $90 to $100 per day.

Current substitute coordinator and aide Debra Johnson was also approved for a raise. Johnson’s part-time salary for the coordinator position was increased to $7,500/year, in addition to her aide compensation.

The coordinator position was a new one for the district last year. Perry said that previously, the principal and secretaries performed the responsibilities, and Johnson began them last year.

The Saratoga school board Monday also approved:

• Sally Hausken will serve as a third “Mentor for Year 1” for a $450 stipend, and Chatten Dryfhout will be Baseball B Team’s coach for an $1,800 stipend.

• A contract for Soils and Materials Consultants in the amount of $4,140 for geotechnical engineering services for the new addition.

• Purchasing PaperCut software for the school’s copy machines from McGrath Office Equipment for $9,322 for a five-year period.

• Leasing a black-and-white Savin printer from McGrath Office Equipment for $132/month. The small printer will be for students’ use.

• An intergovernmental agreement with Morris School District 54 to share an employee for maintenance/custodial work. The two districts will split the approximately $49,600 annual salary for Adam Tondini equally.

• The hire of Jenna D’Apice as a bus driver at a rate of $16.50/hour.

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