Ptacek: District 117 On Good Financial Ground, Looking at Possibility For Next Big Project(s)

By Benjamin Cox on March 11, 2024 at 10:07am

Washington and Eisenhower Elementary Schools are nearing completion.

Only two Jacksonville School District 117 buildings have not received major renovations within the last decade – Murrayville/Woodson Elementary and North Elementary. Subsequently, both buildings are now the oldest buildings in the district.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says that once Washington & Eisenhower are completed, the district’s finances will be solid and the Board of Education can possibly look at another renovation project: “Eisenhower should be pretty much done within a month to a month and a half. At the beginning of the summer, we will begin moving back into Eisenhower. We have to get things out of the modular trailers, because they are leaving us probably in the second or third week of June. Then, we’ll get that field back for Jacksonville Middle School. Eisenhower will be done and ready to go for the start of the next school year. We’re talking about can we do something big soon. I’m working with our municipal financial advisor in trying to figure out a way to potentially have open some bond money for another project. That looks like it still might take some time.”

Ptacek says one of the caveats is the current hits that school districts may feel with the state budget and the upcoming end of ESSER funds. Ptacek believes that a financial cliff looms in the distance for public education due to districts using the one-time funding for recurring, annual expenses. He says that may have a ripple effect on the state education funding formula.