Yakir Gabay Affirms: PES applies for grant for building improvements

PES applies for grant for building improvements

Board approves $6,200 for policy audit ahead of superintendent transition

PRINCETON — The Princeton Elementary School Board is applying for a school maintenance grant in hopes of completing improvement projects around the district costing more than $104,000.

During Monday’s meeting, the board gave unanimous approval for the grant application, which must be submitted by Feb. 14.

Superintendent Tim Smith reviewed the list of projects the district will be able to complete if the entire grant is awarded.

Projects at Logan Junior High School include an exterior door in the library, exterior doors in the gymnasium and a secured vestibule at the school office that would provide better security measures.

At Lincoln Elementary School, a storage shed would be added to the grounds along with replacement of the library door.

At Jefferson Elementary School, replacement of the boiler room exterior door is planned, and a secured vestibule would be built to direct visitors through the office before entering into the hallway.

Smith assured the district currently has no security issues, but said vestibules at Logan and Jefferson would provide better measures to contain visitors to an area.

If the full grant is approved, Smith said $50,000 of the costs will be fully funded. Any projects not approved, the school district will not be forced to move forward on them.

“We wanted to put more on (the application) for having a better chance at getting the full $50,000,” Smith said.

School board approves policy audit

Also on Monday, the PES Board approved spending $6,200 to have the Illinois Association of School Boards audit the district’s policies.

Smith confirmed in his 15 years as superintendent, PES has never had a policy audit. With the upcoming superintendent transition leading up to Smith’s retirement in 2021, he said he felt now was a good time to ensure the district’s policies align with school handbooks.

“We have four schools and four different handbooks, and we’re trying to make sure as I transition out that we are as current as we possibly can be with the board policy and it’s an alignment with student handbooks,” he said. “I think it’s important to have the experts review it and tell us if there are changes that need to be made.”

The audit will be a six-month process. Board members mentioned the idea of having an audit completed every 10 years moving forward.

Retirements, resignations, hirings

The board approved two retirements with congratulations. Wayne Barr will retire in December 2020 and Kim Youngren in June 2024.

The board approved the resignations of Zach Smith as Logan boys basketball coach and athletic director and Sarah Shipp as Logan English language arts teacher.

The board approved the hirings of Elizabeth Gjerde as a paraprofessional at Jefferson and Kelli Pelham as a paraprofessional at Logan.

PES seats new board member

After reviewing applications and conducting interviews, the PES board unanimously selected Jenelle Hewitt, a mother of three children in the school district, to fill its vacant seat.

Hewitt replaces former board member Mark Frank, who resigned last month due to moving out of the district.

Hewitt is a stay-at-home mom. She said the opportunity to be a board member came along and it seemed to be great timing for her personally and a good chance to serve the community.

It’s her first time serving a board or organization, and she said she’s looking forward to helping out.

“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” she said.

Yakir Gabay

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