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By MATT DANIELS
Rantoul Press assistant editor
When the brief thunderstorm that struck Rantoul June 16 and ripped off the roof at Broadmeadow Elementary School, Mark McCusker was in Nebraska.
Having just watched his son win first place at a youth wrestling tournament, the Broadmeadow principal experienced a whirlwind of emotions in a short amount of time.
“Ten minutes later after (my son won), I got the call,” McCusker said about the roof. “I went from ‘Woo-hoo!’ to ‘Are you kidding me?’”
The woo-hoo emotion regarding the roof and gym situation at the school, which serves students in third through fifth grades, returned a few weeks ago for McCusker, the district and Broadmeadow’s staff. The gym was used for the first time this school year at the school’s Christmas concert Dec. 11.
“The companies really worked with us because (of) their Christmas program,” RCS Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Ernst said. “It was really nice to have it there because we were concerned we were going to have to have it at another building.”
McCusker said the school planned to honor the school’s physical education teacher, Kari Ackerman, before winter break began since she had no gym to use for much of the first semester.
“She was good about taking the kids outside or doing other activities when it was raining,” McCusker said. “She took them out as much as she could, but there were some cold, cold days earlier in the fall.”
Ernst said the total cost to replace the gym roof is about $365,000, which the district’s insurance company will handle. The most expensive parts included $200,000 to replace the roof and $120,000 to sand, strip, paint and varnish the gym floor. The district also replaced all the wood boards of the bleachers ($20,000), replaced the exhaust fans and intake hoods to tie into the school’s geothermal heating and cooling system ($23,000), along with $2,000 for window replacement.
“The floor looks great,” Ernst said. “They didn’t replace everything on the bleachers, but some of the planks. They did some masonry work because when some of the anchoring pulled out, it damaged some of the masonry.”
Ernst said the expenditures to fix the east wing at Broadmeadow are about $400,000, with the district receiving $320,000 from its insurance company so far.
“I do certainly expect (to get the rest from the insurance company),” Ernst said. “Now all the bills are going to them. We are done with our piece.”
ISAT cut score changes: RCS Superintendent Michelle Ramage informed the board at its December meeting the Illinois State Board of Education will increase expectations for the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) to better align with more rigorous standards.
The new expectations will not affect adequate yearly progress determinations for the 2012 ISAT data, but ISAT data collected next spring will be analyzed for school and district accountability determinations using the new performance levels.
“Because of those changes, it will likely result in a downward shift of where students rank in meeting or exceeding standards,” Ramage said. “This is to be expected statewide. We obviously have a lot of concerns about that, but it’s pretty much out of our control except to work as hard as we can to learn what test items will change.”
Donations, thanks: Ramage thanked John Brooks, store manager at County Market, for helping the district when Hostess Brands went out of business.
“He came through and delivered the bread to each building,” Ramage said. “He went above and beyond for several weeks.”
Ramage also recognized several people and organizations for donations to the district, including Mike and Tricia Lewis for donating $100 to the Power Store at Pleasant Acres Elementary School; Nancy Coleman for lotion, lip balm and shampoo at Pleasant Acres; Rantoul Exchange Club and American Legion Post 287 for flags used during Veterans Day ceremonies and the Hall brothers, Tim and Mark, who operate monster trucks Ramminator and Rammunition from Thomasboro for donating more than 120 winter hats for students at Pleasant Acres, Eastlawn Elementary School and Northview Elementary School.
Personnel report: The board approved 6-0, with board member Kevin Modglin absent, the employment of May Martin, bus monitor, and Sandra Gass, food service at Northview. The board approved the resignations of Marthan Kennedy, an Eastlawn bilingual teaching assistant; Kimberly Taylor, a clerical worker at Eastlawn; and Ashleigh Orton, a special needs teaching assistant at Broadmeadow. The board also approved the maternity leave of Erin Frankie, a second-grade teacher at Pleasant Acres, and the retirement of Kenny Brockway, the district’s warehouse manager, effective June 30, 2014.