The Fieldcrest Board of Education approved a bid of $348,000 to repair the north wall of the Fieldcrest High School gymnasium at their monthly meeting in Minonk Wednesday night. The wall has been bulging outward and is in danger of collapsing. Farnsworth Engineering representative John Bishop said only one bid was received for the repair, that bid coming from Core Construction of Morton, IL. He said the estimated duration of the repair project would be about one and a half months. Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Dan Oakley said the school was very fortunate in that the repair cost will be covered by the school's insurance.
The Board approved a $11 per hour rate for substitute employees. Dr, Oakley said it is fairly difficult to find substitute teachers for this area. Board member Charles Lohr made a motion to increase the hourly rate to $15 stating an increase would attract more applicants. There was no second and the motion died.
Mr. Lohr questioned why the energy and gas bill was so much greater for Fielcrest East in Wenona than it is for Minonk and Toluca schools. He said there are thousands of dollars difference and wants to know if this can be addressed. Dr, Oakley said he would research the issue. Board member Scott Hillenburg said it has been known for a long time that the Wenona school buildings have high energy bills. He said that is one of the reasons plans for building a new school was started - to lower energy cost. He said the only school building that is energy efficient is Fieldcrest South in Minonk.
Mr. Lohr asked if it would be more cost effective to have the custodians do the mowing for the school district rather than spending $8500 a year to have it contracted out. He said the custodians agreed that they would have time to do the mowing. The school currently leases two tractors to do snow removal but could be used for mowing as well. Board President Joe Kirkpatrick said there is a limit on how many hours can be put on the tractors per the lease agreement and that is why they are not used for mowing. Dr. Oakley said he will research the issue and see if it is cost effective to have the custodians do the mowing.
Dr. Oakley commented on the state budget crisis stating that if the state does not approve SB1, which is a bill to fund education this year, the school will be forced to cut expenses where possible. He said if no state money is received by the end of the 2017, the school will need $1 million to get through the rest of the year. He indicated the school will be forced to borrow money to finish the school year and pay it back when state money is received.