Board strikes down mobile classrooms

? Mobile classrooms and D90's grant for special education programs were the main items on the Board of Education's agenda.

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By JOHN YOO

Mobile classrooms and District 90's grant for special education programs were the main points on the D-90 Board of Education's agenda Monday night. With  375 students currently in Willard Elementary School, 340 students in Lincoln and 670 students in Roosevelt Middle School, the shortage of classroom space demands a solution and the pre-fabricated classrooms can be physically added to the premise of a school.

Marlene Kamm, superintendent of the board, said that the board projects a continual increase in the number of students throughout next year.

But the board finally agreed, without an official vote, that the addition of mobile classroom units is not cost-effective and there are alternative options to accommodate the shortage of classroom space.

Anthony Cozzi, the board's business manager, said the installment of mobile classroom units at the needed schools would cost the board approximately $105,000. He added that the construction of the units will take up to 3 months and that they will face financial penalties if the board backs out on the contract.

As an alternative, Kamm suggested moving the Early Childhood Program from Willard to Lincoln, where there are fewer enrolled students.

The board also considered the option of renting out space at the Community Center, Concordia University or Dominican University.

"Parents always want to see smaller numbers of kids in one class and they have the right to advocate that," Kamm said prior to the board meeting.

Board members also discussed District 90's decreased grant for special education.

District 90 is one of the many school districts that receive grants from the state of Illinois to accommodate the needs of their disabled students.

The Federal District of Special Education (FDSE), the organization responsible for the allocation of the state's grant to various districts, recently changed its criteria for judging. Traditionally, the criteria for judgment was the given district's level of participation in various special education programs, but the criteria was changed to the level of poverty and disability of the district.

The board unanimously agreed to challenge the criteria, saying that the new system of judgment is illogical.

"Putting poverty and disability together is not logical," said Ronald Atkins, Chairperson of Finance. "A similar thing would be to say rich people are smarter."

Should the new criteria take effect, District 90's grant amount will be decrease by approximately $70,000, Cozzi said.

Kamm suggested that the board continue to communicate with FDSE to see if there are any other possible alternatives.

Some of the other briefly-discussed issues include: District 90's reception of School Search Bright A+ Award, an award given in recognition of academic excellence; a briefing on the Technology Plan Update, a proposed plan to advance technology in local schools; and notes from the PTO Council Meetings.

The meeting was the last for Board President Sally Delbeccaro, Donna Cech and Dennis Miccon.

After some sad goodbyes, the Board of Education Organizational Meeting was called to order and the oath of office administered to newly-elected board members JuliAnn Geldner, Lori Owens, Kelly Wellindt and Ronald Atkins.

Owens will serve as the new Board Secretary and Nora Anzinger will continue to serve as the board's Vice President. 

David Gregg will take DelBeccaro's place as the new president of the board.

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