Thursday, July 17

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Board approves girl's tryout for baseball

[JULY 17, 2003]  Wednesday's District 27 board meeting centered around information concerning the construction of the new Central School and the demolition of the junior high. Also discussed was a request from the parents of a junior high girl that she be allowed to try out for the baseball team. Budget and contract issues rounded out the relatively short meeting.

The Central School kitchen equipment arrived this past week, and the gym floor should arrive this next week. The entrance and administrative areas are being finished off with work on the floors and electrical issues. The cafeteria area is two-thirds tiled and looks good.

A problem was observed with the hard rain in the recent past. Some water was found on the area where the new gym floor is to be set. This was a result of the old school still being there without enough drainage space between the two buildings. Superintendent Robert Kidd observed that it was fortuitous that the problem occurred before the laying of the gym floor. Work will be looked into to allow for quicker drainage of water between the buildings.

Another problem concerns the media center (library). The contractor did not come through with the shipment of the casework for the center, so it will not be delivered until Aug. 18. They have agreed to help set up the casework for no extra charge. It had been originally been planned for volunteers to do the work.

There have been equipment delivery problems for the demolition of the junior high. Repair on needed equipment was not completed on time. One piece of equipment should arrive on Thursday and another on Saturday. By next Monday three operators should be working on the demolition. By the following Friday the basic demolition should be finished. There will still be two to three weeks of sorting and dumping of material after that. The demolition should still be concluded by Aug. 21 or 22.

The board president, Bruce Carmitchel, expressed concerns about the demolition area being an "attractive nuisance" for children. There has been an opening in the fence behind the demolition area. He stated that this should be closed off and possibly more warning signs put up to show a good-faith effort by the district to keep children out of harm's way.

Drawings of the plans for the new junior high were made available for perusal by the board. These will be fine-tuned and put out for bid next week. It should be possible to begin construction after the demolition is complete. Various plans for a temporary staging area for construction materials for the new junior high need to be presented before the city council for approval, as this may require temporary blocking of area traffic.


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Superintendent Kidd noted that the recent rains had also done damage in the administration building. Carpets had to be cleaned and de-molded more than once. Other equipment also was damaged. An insurance claim is being prepared.

A recent request by parents of a junior high girl to try out for the boys' baseball team was brought up by Superintendent Kidd. Principal Curt Nettles reported he had received a letter from the parents.

IESA rules state a girl may play on a boys' team as long as proper forms are submitted. The local board does not have to approve this (although they can still approve it) as long as the school offers girls a "comparable" sport to participate in.

Being under the impression that girls' softball was a comparable sport, Nettles had responded in a letter to the parents that he did not see a need to have her be allowed to try out for the baseball team.

Carmitchel stated that he checked with the IESA attorney, whose opinion was that they are not comparable sports. Other board members seemed to think it ought to be all right for her to try out in any event. The board president also did not want the local district to be footing any possible bill on litigation about what the word "comparable" might mean.

It was agreed, without a vote, to go ahead and inform the parents that it was all right to let the girl try out for the team. The paperwork for this would then be submitted to the IESA.

In other business:

A tentative budget was submitted by Superintendent Kidd. It was approved without dissent by a voice vote. A public hearing on the budget will be in September, after it is advertised to the public.

After taking bids for transporting of students in the coming year, it was found that the low bidder had not included extracurricular or field trip transport in its bid. The next higher complete bid could be accepted, or all bids could be rejected and the issue put out for rebid. The superintendent recommended the latter. The vote to approve rejecting the bids and rebidding the project was passed unanimously. The bids should be back by July 25 and one of them accepted by the board at a special meeting on July 31.

[Keith Wilkerson]    

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