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Coal City school board discusses Dresden closing

Superintendent in contact with local legislators

The Coal City Community Unit School District 1 board discussed the proposed closing of Dresden Generating Station.
The Coal City Community Unit School District 1 board discussed the proposed closing of Dresden Generating Station.

COAL CITY — The Coal City Community Unit School District #1 board met Wednesday night, and according to superintendent Dr. Kent Bugg, most of the discussion centered on the recently announced closing of Dresden Generation Station.

Dresden provides approximately $16 million to District #1, which Bugg said is about 45% of its annual revenue.

"We knew there was a chance that Dresden could close," Bugg said. "It was the timing of it that took us by surprise. We didn't think it would be this soon."

Bugg said that since the announcement last Thursday, he has been in contact with multiple local leaders, such as State Sen. Sue Rezin, State Representative David Welter and State Sen. Patrick Joyce, as well as the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce, Grundy Economic Development Council and officials from Exelon.

"It has been a very busy six days," Bugg said. "There have been multiple meetings and we plan on having many more."

Bugg pointed out that there is a website, savedresden.com, that has been created to help save the plant. Through the website, citizens can access a petition on change.org, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed, all dedicated to keeping the plant open.

"We believe that the window is still open to save Dresden," Bugg said. "We hope to get people to get a grassroots effort going. We haven't advertised it much, but the petition on change.org has over 7,000 signatures already.

"We need to do this not only to protect our tax base, but, more importantly, to save the 1,600 jobs that will be lost if Dresden closes. These are people in our community and we don't want to see them lose their jobs."

In other action at the meeting, the board approved a 2.5% salary increase for school support staff.

"We are back to in-person learning, and this is a well-deserved increase," Bugg said. "The staff and faculty have done a tremendous job of getting us ready to have in-person learning and making sure it has run smoothly."

The board also heard a second reading on revised district policies, many of which included new pandemic language. There will be a third reading at the board meeting in October.

Also, the board approved an Athletic Training contract with Rezin Orthopedics and Sports Medicine for $7,000.

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