Georgetown board fills vacancies

Georgetown board fills vacancies

GEORGETOWN — School officials filled two open seats on the school board on Monday, and hired an assistant principal at Mary Miller Junior High School.

Last month, the board accepted the resignation of member Lori Key, a six-year veteran of the board who most recently served on the negotiations team and who was the board's vice president. At Monday's meeting, the board accepted the resignation of member Phil Hummel, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in September 2011 and was elected to a four-year seat on the board this past spring.

Superintendent Jean Neal said she received four letters of interest for Key's seat on the Georgetown-Ridge Farm School Board, and the board selected two of the interested candidates to serve on the board.

Mike Gragert and Greg Emmert will both serve on the board, and will both have to run for re-election in 2015 to retain their seats after that. Board President Kevin Latoz said the board had to make hard choices from the applicants. Even though both Gragert and Emmert are now officially school board members, they will be sworn in at a future board meeting.

The board also voted to hire Kevin Thomas as assistant principal of Mary Miller Junior High Schoolstarting Aug. 1.

Thomas spent 12 years in the Rossville-Alvin school district, and served as the principal of Catlin High from the 2005-06 school year through the end of the previous school year. The Catlin school board voted on Feb. 14 to eliminate the Catlin High principal position, and to add those responsibilities to the superintendent's job.

Janice Van Duyn, who had served as assistant principal at the junior high, was named to the newly created position of director of student services by the board last month, and will oversee special education and English as a Second Language students, and students with medical obstacles to their education.

In other business, Neal said staff members are looking at possible life-safety projects that the district's architects could formally propose to the Illinois State Board of Education. The board is considering issuing up to $250,000 in life-safety bonds to pay for specific repairs or improvements.

Neal also said some low-cost beautification projects, such as some repainting and landscaping, may take place before classes begin in the fall.

The board also voted to hire a commercial Realtor to help market Ridge Farm Elementary School..

Larry Kuchefski of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty of Champaign will be paid $6,000 or 6 percent of the sale price of the school. The board voted on Dec. 11 to deactivate the school. Board member April Evans said a subcommittee of the board's buildings and grounds committee had met to discuss the future plans for Ridge Farm Elementary, which includes a 35,000-square-foot building and 13 acres of grounds. Evans said Kuchefski has experience with listing commercial properties, and should be able to help the district generate a lot of bids for the property.

Board members expect to market the property for three months, and hope to open bids for its purchase by the end of October.

In related business, Neal said that, even though many items from Ridge Farm Elementary are being repurposed throughout other district buildings, the board is still accepting letters from those who want specific items from the school. She said the board will review all requests, and will decide whether to give items with sentimental value to those who ask for them, or whether to put the items into an auction of district items. ###

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