GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn School District 41 is pushing ahead with plans to add to its elementary schools as part of a $15 million facilities project.
District 41's Board of Education approved building additions totaling about 27,000 square feet at a meeting Monday night. The undertaking will add four classrooms and extra space to each elementary school during the next two years.
The vote acts as a figurative starting pistol for the district's construction effort to address a lack of facility space.
“We did vet this out seven different ways to Sunday and felt it was the best recommendation for the community as a board,” said board member Patrick Escalante.
While praising the plan, several board members acknowledged that the elementary school construction won't completely address all concerns, including a mandate to eliminate portable classrooms.
“This isn't about getting the perfect plan,” said board member Dean Elger. “It's about getting a good plan and moving forward.”
The board also approved a $4.48 million bid from FQC Construction Management for additions at Lincoln and Franklin schools, in addition to site and storm water work at Forest Glen. The bid included an estimated $194,730 in roofing work at Lincoln.
Another estimated $985,000 was approved in a separate vote for professional services from FGM Architects related to design and construction work for the elementary school additions.
The school district will spend about $15 million on the construction project. Funding will come from three sources.
A $7 million loan that will be repaid over 15 years will cover a large portion of the costs. Board members said they were able to secure a good interest rate on the loan.
Another $7 million will go into the construction fund from the district's reserve. The remaining money, about $1 million, will be pulled from its operating funds.
Approval of new class sizes
An approved change to the size of classes in District 41 will most impact second graders, according to school officials.
The District 41 board passed recommendations Monday night to adjust class sizes in two grade levels for the 2014-15 school year.
School officials currently target class sizes for second grade students to range from 20 to 22, according to the district figures.
Next year, targets for students in the second and third grades will range from 22 to 25.
Previously, the lower end for third-grade class sizes was 23.
Student fees at District 41 schools will not increase for the 2014-15 school year.
Basic fees for early childhood and kindergarten run $56 per year. Elementary school fees cost $75, while junior high fees are priced at $115. Activity fees range from $30 for the first fee to $3.75 for the fourth fee.
The district collects about $235,000 in basic and activity fees in a school year, which offsets the costs for learning materials, athletic coaches and sponsors.
Board of Education President Sam Black reiterated his objections to the fees, calling them a “revenue generator.”
“As a taxpayer, I feel that the district can find other ways to generate revenue,” he said.