Board votes to accept new scholarship named after former JHS student

By Jim McCabe on February 20 at 6:46am

A former Jacksonville High School student who died last summer in an auto accident will be further memorialized.

The District 117 Board of Education last night voted to approve a new scholarship named after Leo Alfano, as well as two new park benches at the JHS soccer field.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says a “naming committee” determined that both requests met the necessary criteria.

“The committee was absolutely in agreement that this was an absolute appropriate thing for the district to do, and is very thankful to the Alfano family for providing some wonderful benches for our soccer field, for the viewers of our soccer games, and also for providing a $500 scholarship for one of our seniors every year,” he says.

Ptacek says the Alfanos came to District 117 with the scholarship idea.

“This was completely out of their desire to help a district student that they know represented the wonderful traits that Leo possessed,” says Ptacek. “The school district, in fairness to everybody, does not initiate the process of any type of scholarship or memorial, but with that, we definitely think this is a wonderful opportunity to provide to our current students and our current visitors to the soccer games, while also carrying on the wonderful memory of one our students.”

The scholarship will be awarded at the JHS Senior Awards night in May and will be presented by members of the Alfano family. Leo was 19 when he was killed in a motorcycle accident in South Jacksonville last summer with his girlfriend, 17-year-old Morgan McKinnon of Murrayville, who was a JHS senior.

The board also voted to authorize applications to be submitted for the statewide School Maintenance Grant program. The Illinois State Board of Education has opened a second round of applications this year. The district was previously approved for $50,000to repair various parking lots.

Ptacek says this application will be submitted using the Health Life Safety Amendment for replacement of rooftop air conditioning units at Eisenhower Elementary.

“Eisenhower is not a facility that has the availability of open windows that our other schools do, so you cannot run and operate Eisenhower without proper air conditioning, and the current units were old and were falling apart,” Ptacek states. “So, we had to replace those units, and so we were able to apply for the grant and at least save $50,000 of the cost of those units.”

The total estimated cost of the roof project is $288,000.

The school board approved the purchase of two pre-owned buses from Midwest Transit Equipment for about $141,000.

District 117 administrators explained last night that they will still need to purchase two more buses and will be releasing a Request for Proposal by the end of this week, with bids due March 5th.

Also, current Murrayville-Woodson Elementary principal Sarah Raynor was named the new interim curriculum director as the board accepted the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Carol Kilver.