District 117 covers athletic guidelines, discipline reports and Vision 117 progress

By Ryne Turke on January 22, 2015 at 6:21am

A lengthy discussion was held regarding individual student participation in Illinois High School Association and Illinois Elementary School Association competitions. Board members brought up that multiple sports such as bowling, fishing and archery involve individual competition.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek says these are just a few of the sports that aren’t offered by schools in the district.

“Individuals can participate in state competitions and we discussed how you address the situation when you have a parent that wants to pay for a student who is talented in that area,” says Ptacek.

“We want to encourage that dedication and commitment. We have to weigh between allowing students to do that, because we have to sign paper work allowing them to represent the school, against an equitable situation for individuals that don’t have the funding.”

Board members determined that community members could choose to endorse the students who are interested in competing at the state level.

The first semester discipline report was released, with the final numbers showing an increased amount of suspensions from last year.  A total of 339 students were suspended in District 117 this year, compared to 207 in the 2013-2014 first semester.

Ptacek felt the current numbers are very high and highlighted some of the disciplinary goals he has for the district.

“We need to focus on selling our mission to get students to learn academics and become socially  mature men and women to the students and community,” says Ptacek.

“When students walk in this building, we want it to serve a purpose. That purpose is to prepare them for a successful future.”

Ptacek also informed the board of the latest updates on the Vision 117 process.

“We are going to have a presentation in the February meeting about the different bond sale options. We will discuss whether we will go for 20 or 25 years, if we will sell only $10 million a year or whether the low interest rates point to a sale of all the bonds at a time down the road,” says Ptacek.

“We will also be discussing  whether we are going to start with an architect or a construction manger as the lead for the Turner renovation.”

Although Governor Bruce Rauner has only been in office a short time, one of the main topics on his agenda has been Vision 20/20. The goal of the program is to bring adequate funding towards education. Ptacek says he is in favor of the goals and design of Vision 20/20, but more information is needed to make a recommendation of support.

A meeting scheduled between District 117 and 8 Points Charter has been scheduled for February 5. Board members will discuss the school’s charter renewal and review specific procedures. Ptacek says the decision will be based on performance compared to cost.

The board also agreed on an estimate to repair the Jacksonville Field House’s ceiling and the selection of Graham & Hyde Architects to conduct the Health and Life Safety Survey.

A special meeting for board self-evaluation will be held on Wednesday at the District 117 Central Office.