Board narrows Central site list to six
Tax levy, two contracts approved
CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign school board narrowed its list of possibilities for a new Central High School site Monday, as it works toward choosing a site by the year’s end.
All six are north of University Avenue.
The sites are:
— North of Olympian Drive, just east of Prospect Avenue.
— North of Olympian Drive, just west of Prospect Avenue.
— Southwest corner of Market Street and Olympian Drive.
— North of the T-intersection of Interstate Drive and Neil Street, east of the Ashland Park subdivision.
— North of the interchange of Interstates 57 and 74, west of Mattis Avenue and south of the High School of St. Thomas More.
— East of Interstate Research Park and between Olympian and Interstate drives.
School Board President Laurie Bonnett specifically mentioned some reasons two sites that were in the board's goal boundaries of being between Interstate 57, Interstate 74, Springfield Avenue and First Street were taken off the list in open session Monday evening.
Those sites included the Country Fair Shopping Center and one just south of the Interstate 74 and 57 interchange.
The latter was taken off because of an Illinois Department of Transportation Safety Study, and because of a water main running through the site that would have be relocated at a significant cost.
Country Fair didn't have the acreage to meet the school district's needs, would require demolition and site remediation and would cause businesses to have to move.
Dennis Bane, an employee of DLR Group, which is working with construction planning firm Gorski Reifsteck, explained to the board Monday the process they'd go through to narrow the sites.
Much of the work with board members will be done individually, he said, so all voices can be heard. The firm is creating score sheets that will calculate and weight the importance of different factors and features of the sites, and will average all board members' responses to show results.
The board will hold a special meeting Dec. 2 with the goal of narrowing the list down to three sites.
Meanwhile, the board approved a three-year contract with the union that represents support staff members. That deal allows workers a step increase plus 2.6 percent increase the first year, step plus 1.85 percent increase in the second year and step plus a 1.6 percent increase in the third year.
The contract's step increases average about 2.2 percent.
The board also approved a $98,500 contract with local firm Codagami, which will build the district's software for its kindergarten-assignment process this year.
After this year, the district will own the software, said Susan Zola, assistant superintendent of achievement, curriculum and instruction. In the past, the district has paid about $100,000 each year for a Boston-based vendor to assign its students, but never owned the software that company used.
The board also approved language that will clarify some aspects of the choice process, including proximity and how students are assigned to wait lists. It also extends the kindergarten registration process, so it will now continue from January through March.
The board also approved its proposed tax levy at Monday's meeting.
The district will ask for about $82.6 million this year. Last year, the district asked for $79.5 million and received about $79.3 million.
The district will also continue to use funds from the school facilities sales tax to abate bond payments on previous construction debt, which results in lower property-tax bills.