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BOE talks bond payment and potential projects

By Kendra Hennis
The board retreat section of the Tuscola Board of Education meeting was called to order at 6 p.m on December 17 with all members present. 

The board retreat was necessary to discuss the school’s bond situation since they are almost finished paying off the bonds of North Ward. They were joined by Dave Pistorius of First Midstate Inc, who provided them more information on the bonds and how the process would work. Pristorus advised that interest rates are at a historic low, which makes it a good time for the board to consider borrowing. He also advised that if they would like to issue these bonds, they should decide soon as the deadline is quickly approaching. 

The board hopes to tackle renovations at Tuscola High School as well as minor upgrades at North Ward and East Prairie. Some repairs discussed at the high school include a new science lab and track, as well as electrical upgrades at all three schools. However, a finalized priority list has not yet been completed. To continue discussion, the board set a special meeting for January 6 at 6 p.m. to discuss a potential performance contractor to oversee renovations on a potential project. 

The regular session meeting of the Board of Education was called to order at 7 p.m. on December 17 with all board members present. 

The board began with the presentation and approval of the 2020 Tax Levy. The district levied $5.6 million against an estimated property tax value valuation of $137.5 million. Superintendent Gary Alexander noted that if the property value (equalized assessed valuation or EAV) comes in lower than expected then the amount received by the district will be less than the $5.6 million. Therefore, he is expecting the EAV to be on the high side. 

During the Principal’s Reports it was reported that the Jeans Day fundraisers for teachers raised nearly $2,000, which was donated to various community resources. The Jeans Day fundraiser is where teachers pay a small fee to wear jeans on Fridays. The fundraiser donated $450 to RISE Mental Health and Wellness, $450 to the Pass after school program, $500 to Rally Point Fitness, and $525 to the Tuscola POW WOWs. 

The board also:
* Accepted a $500 donation from James and Dorothy Voyles for Help-A-Child. 

* Approved the minutes of the November 23 regular meeting. 

* Approved the monthly bills.

* Approved the monthly Treasurer and Bookkeeper’s Reports. 

* Completed the first reading of Administrative Policy and Procedures Revisions. 

* Approved the list of December graduates. 

* Approved moving to closed session for the purposes defined in 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (1) – personnel, 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (9) – student discipline, and 5 ILCS 120/2 (c) (10) – student matters.

* Approved the hiring of Avery Sandiford as TCHS Ag Teacher and FFA Sponsor.

* Adjourned until the January 6 special board meeting at 6 p.m.

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