It was announced at the regular Fieldcrest Board of Education meeting Wednesday night that Superintendent Dr. Dan Oakley plans to retire on December 31, 2019. The board had a search consultant present a proposal at the meeting for finding a replacement for Dr. Oakley.
Tom Leahy, a consultant for executive search firm IASB, said the best approach is to hire his replacement starting in July 2019 to work along with Dr. Oakley and then assume the position when Dr. Oakley retires at the end of 2019. He said the worst approach is to try to hire a full time replacement to start January 1, 2020 as that will result in a lower quality of applicants.
Mr. Leahy said his firm will charge $7900 to find a new superintendent and will stick with the school until a replacement is found.
In other business the board approved a bid of $24,750 by M&O Environmental for asbestos abatement at the intermediate school in Toluca and a bid of $32,500 by Environmental Insurance at the primary school in Minonk. Dr. Oakley said the bids came in much lower than expected and work has already started at both schools with the abatement procedure and also Life-Safety upgrades.
The board approved the hiring of Mathew Wendling as the school's Technology Director.
The board approved the issuance of $2,760,000 general obligation school bonds for the purpose of altering and reconstructing school buildings and purchasing and installing equipment for fire prevention, safety energy conservation and school security purposes at Fieldcrest intermediate and primary school buildings. The sale of the bonds was authorized to Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, St. Louis Mo.
In the speaker's section at the beginning of the meeting, Michael Mendola of Wenona said he was concerned about the quality of education at Fieldcrest. He cited a report from U.S. News & World Report that showed only 24% of Fieldcrest seniors met or exceeded national standards in Reading and only 3% met or exceeded national standards in Math. He asked why the students are failing.
Dr. Oakley responded that test results go up and down on an annual basis and that Fieldcrest has had good results in the past. He said the latest test reports to come out in June will show better results.
Dr. Oakley said the Fieldcrest Building Design Committee is working to fit the building design into the budget constraints by trying to find ways to use and conserve space. He said the school has a $25 million dollar budget constraint that must be met.