Ptacek discusses future of District 117 boundaries, facilities and services

By Gary Scott on February 8, 2017 at 6:00am

Superintendent Steve Ptacek covered a number of issues crucial to the future of District 117 at last night’s public presentation.

A sizeable crowd gathered in the Jacksonville High School auditorium to hear Ptacek’s presentation titled “Planning for the Future: Boundaries, Facilities, and Services.”

Ptacek says that he discovered certain issues as he started digging deeper into the potential impact of the boundary process.

“What ended up happening was as I started looking at the boundary, I realized that it could potentially cost tax payers a substantial amount of money. In the past we had Franklin Choice and Lincoln Choice, but we were maximizing our resources by minimizing our required staff. Well when you went to defined boundaries, that removed all of that flexibility. What it did do is potentially increase, in some of the scenarios, especially the grandfathering option, substantially increasing our staffing needs,” says Ptacek.

According to Ptacek, during the Lincoln renovations, the district found some potentially very hazardous issues in the infrastructure of the building. And as Ptacek pointed out, a majority of the district’s other facilities face the same issue.

Ptacek explains that sometime in the future, the district could potentially be faced with alarming emergency needs in multiple buildings.

“When we start talking about increasing staffing needs, increasing programming, I’ve got to prepare the community for the reality that five years from now, ten years from now, fifteen years from now…I don’t know exactly when we are going to start facing major catastrophic emergency needs in our buildings.”

He says that until all of these issues get resolved, everything else is on hold.

“Now I’ve got to go to the board and I’ve got boundary issues, the modular classrooms that I would love to provide programming, and it’s just hit me that my job as Superintendent is also to get this district a long-range plan. At this point and time, the long-range plan is we’ve got to start stockpiling money for the reality of what’s going to be happening with out buildings over the next fifteen-to-twenty years. Some day the rubber band is going to break. Something’s got to be done,” Ptacek explains.

For those unable to attend last night’s public presentation, there will be an identical presentation on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the JHS auditorium.