ORION - School board members unanimously passed a resolution letting the district start projects that will be funded using the county-wide one-cent facilities sales tax before the money starts coming in one year from now.
Superintendent David Deets said the Orion school district is expected to receive $300,000 per year from the tax. He cited possible uses for the money, such as more electronic locks, air-conditioning at the high school, upgrading electrical systems, parking lot improvements, a covered walkway from the agriculture building to the main building and an all-weather track.
Some of the projects, he said, are "feasible, doable and smart in the next few years, if not sooner."He said a committee reviewing possible improvements is trying to meet at least quarterly.
He credited the successful April 9 sales tax referendum with providing the district with resources for needed improvements.
"I think it's going to make a big difference in what our facilities will look like in the next five years," he said.
Board members learned a storage room in the industrial arts building has been converted into a weight room. Orion High School no longer offers industrial arts because of low student interest.
The board also reviewed a list of considerations for the district to move fifth grade classes to the middle school, making the most of an underutilized middle building and allowing pre-kindergarten classes to move from portable facilities at C.R. Hanna into the main building.
It was stressed that no decision has been made and won't be made for the 2013-14 school year.
Board members also discussed phasing in fees for pre-kindergarten, charging parents $25 per month next year, $35 per month for the 2014-15 school year and $50 per month for successive years. Orion's chances of state funding for pre-kindergarten are not good, it was stated, because the district does not have enough low-income families.
The district also is considering transporting pre-kindergarten students first thing in the morning and at the end of the day with two half-day sessions, leaving mid-day transportation up to parents. The district also may look into a Suburban for families who have trouble transporting pre-kindergarten children.
The board also:
* Rehired Emily Walker as Response to Intervention coordinator.
* Hired Courtnie Rigg as special education aide,Crista Barr as assistant head cook,Anita Jackson as secretary, and Shondra Ruff as art teacher and Response to Intervention aide.
* Approved stipends for Jay Solomonson as co-op education coordinator and career tech teacher.
Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir. 1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.