Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

May 21, 2013

Board moves forward with new track

Jackson Adams Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — NEWTON — Despite a tight budget going into next school year, Jasper County School District accepted a bid for a new track Monday.

The district accepted in a 6-1 vote a bid from Midwest Track Builders of more than $91,000 for a new latex track for the high school.

Board member Mindy Street, who was the lone dissent, expressed concerns about the base the track currently has and any problems that could be created when the new one is placed.

”It’s a gamble,” she said.

Superintendent Dan Cox said the district would not be able to depend on state aid to pay for the project.

”There are no grants to help, but the Health-Life-Safety grant won’t pay for it,” he said.

Although the district had discussed using health-life-safety funds to finance the project, the district recently learned it was restricted from doing so. Officials did not say during the meeting how the project would be funded.

The board had initially discussed installing a polyurethane track, which had the potential to last up to 30 years, however the board decided it was too expensive and may have cost the district an additional $100,000.

In other business Monday, Newton Elementary School Principal Travis Wyatt said a new grant involving Lego toys will be integrated into counseling services.

”This gives kids another avenue to share feelings and communicate with other kids in a positive way,” he said.

Wyatt said the school received a pair of grants to integrate the toys into health services, which would also give staff the training necessary to work with students.

”Both were pretty small,” he said. “We had a total of about $2,000 and $4,000 in professional development. We’re pretty excited about that.”

With the year winding down, the board also heard about potential kindergarten enrollment after one stage of registration. So far, 84 students are registered for kindergarten, 12 more than last year, with the district aware of 16 more children who have not committed to kindergarten or prekindergarten. Ste. Marie Elementary School Principal Kathy Johnson said it was important not to consider these as final numbers.

”It’s difficult to make a prediction,” she said. “You just never know. Some could leave. We’re just right around 100.”

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.