School district sells Bresee land

In a meeting that lasted less than 45 minutes, the Vandalia Board of Education last Tuesday voted to sell two tracts of land and advertise the home currently being built by the building trades class.

The land, which was donated to the district about five years ago by former resident Dick Breesee, sold for $90,000 for a 15.2-acre tract (with a cabin) and $295,000 for a 138-acre tract. The property is located near the Brownstown exit on Interstate 70.

The other motion involves a house at 2018 Karen St., which is being built by students in the Okaw Area Vocational Centers building trades program. It is the 34th house built through that program.

In a related move, the board approved the purchase of a lot on Brian Street for the construction of the next building trades home. That lot, No. 19, is located one block south of Randolph Street and slightly west of Rock Island Avenue.

After a brief executive session to discuss personnel matters, the board took the following action:

Hired Chad Wilson as the VCHS assistant wrestling coach. Wilson wrestled for the Vandals in the 1990s.

Hired Susan Collier as a full-time bus driver.

Hired Anita Wilson as a full-time pre-K aide.

Accepted the bid of $791,433 from Bruce Uterbrink Construction for Health Life Safety work on district buildings.

Approved the minutes of an expulsion hearing held on Oct. 16.

Superintendent Rich Well told the board that the district had received the first installment of tax revenues, and had used the funds to pay outstanding bills. He said he anticipated the second installment would be available within the next week.

He reported that, as a result of the money made available from the bond referendum past last spring, the district has turned the tables on the interest. We now have money in the bank and are earning interest on it.

He also reported that the district is waiting for Gov. Rod Blagojevich to release state aid funds to the district. We have between $400,000 and $500,000 in state aid coming, Well said. Right now, we have nothing.

In his report to the board, Well said that the roof work on district buildings is complete. He said the next mandated Health Life Safety projects will involve securing school buildings by adding security vestibules, alarms and better exterior door locks.

Well also noted that the proposed tax levy, which will be considered for approval at the boards December meeting, shows an increase of 4.9 percent. He said the district is waiting for the Equalized Assessed Valuation from the county, but he had projected figures that indicated an EAV increase of $4.2 million in Fayette County (from $85,974,788 to $90,187,553).

There wont be any significant increase, he said. Our actual tax rate is lower than last year.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a motion to advertise for bids for food and paper products.

Well also reported that the district and the teachers association have been meeting to evaluate the current teacher evaluation instrument.

Also, he said that the buildings and grounds committee has been meeting to determine what can be done to enhance the appearance of the school buildings things we can do within our means. In that area, he said that fertilization and re-seeding work has begun on the football game field and practice field. Soil samples were taken by the agriculture class and a fertilization program was started.

Among the items reported to the board by building principals, Vandalia Junior High School Principal Rod Grimsley pointed out that the school has received an academic improvement award from the Illinois State Board of Education. That award was for making an improvement of at least 15 points in state test scores in both reading and math between 2004 and 2006. VJHS scores improved from 57.7 in 2004 to 73.2 in 2006 an increase of 15.5 points.

Thats a credit to the administration, staff and students at the junior high, Well said. Its a very positive sign.

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