GLEN ELLYN – The Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education met June 22 to discuss who will facilitate the Facilities Community Task Force and how they will move forward with additions to Churchill Elementary School. They also made a decision on the cubbie installation at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.
D-41 superintendent, chief communications officer to lead task force
Superintendent Paul Gordon and Chief Communications Officer Erika Krehbiel will lead the new Facilities Community Task Force that will deal with building and space issues at District 41 schools.
The decision comes after months of debate from board members on how the district should proceed with the task force, which included discussion of whether to devise an internal leadership team or hire a consulting firm.
Gordon said that the cost of employing a consulting firm as an outside facilitator would be a per-day rate of about $1,200, whereas an internal facilitator is a more cost-effective option.
Gordon and Krehbiel will oversee and compile information for the task force.
In a combined effort, the group will ultimately weigh issues such as creating space for full-day kindergarten, relieving overcrowding at elementary schools, removing portables at Hadley Junior High School and addressing other space needs at all five district schools.
Gordon said as facilitators, he and Krehbiel will also assist in providing a wide scope of information, defining the charge of the task force and working on determining the process of engagement.
“We want to ensure that this task force owns this process,” Gordon said. “We're really here for the support ... and helping the community members with what they need.”
Four-classroom addition moving forward at Churchill
The board will continue with plans for a second four-classroom addition at Churchill Elementary School.
After initially approving the project at a Feb. 23 meeting, the board accepted a bid recommendation June 22 from construction manager FQC on the addition work for an estimated cost of about $2 million.
The issue has proven a divisive one for newer board members Kurt Buchholz and Stephanie Clark, who put in a second motion to proceed forward while continuing to evaluate and pursue the addition of two more classrooms.
However, their motion was rejected by the other board members in favor of the original proposal of the four-classroom addition.
Clark noted that although the four additional classrooms would replace portables, they would not yield any additional space for students or possible influxes of the student population.
Clark and Buchholz added that if full-day kindergarten were to open up at all District 41 schools, Churchill would be the only school unable to handle the change.
Other board members, however, took issue with altering the current plans and potentially throwing off the construction timeline.
Board President Erica Nelson said that the feasibility and space concerns presented by all-day kindergarten should be evaluated by the Facilities Community Task Force and discussed by the entire community.
Construction on the project is expected to be completed by next March.
Board goes with original plan for cubbie space
After extensive discussion and analysis, the board approved a $230,197 expenditure for 235 cubbies at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Learning and Media Center.
Clark, Buccholz and board member Drew Ellis voted against the item.
The subject first arose at the June 8 meeting, but Clark recommended curbing the conversation and exploring how the cubbies could be more efficiently built, and if it was possible to provide hooks with partitioned sectioning instead of boxed cubbies.
But, after further analysis, it was determined that the total cost difference of providing an altered storage system would be about $1,000 with no benefit of extra space gained, according to Gordon.
While Buchholz had issue with the board going with sole bidder Lowery McDonnell for the project instead of looking at two earlier, higher-cost bids for comparison, board member Joe Bochenski said the other bidders would have likely moved on from pursuing the project and that the district was always interested in the lowest bidder.
Clark did not support moving forward with the construction, stating that the district should not continue with any construction in the schools until the task force determines a long-range direction for facilities.