Fire Marshal Not Happy With New Nokomis Windows

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The Nokomis School Board learned that new windows do not meet fire code at their Tuesday, Dec. 17, meeting at the unit office.

Board President Chad Ruppert  began the meeting with a moment of silence to reflect on the recent tragedy in the district.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Doerr informed the board that the fire marshall has indicated that the new windows in the Nokomis High School library do not meet his standards for being fire proof because the fire escape is directly outside of the windows. Doerr stated that he has spoken to Sam Johnson about the issue and was informed that the designer that created the drawings noted this but did not include it in his drawings for specs. 

There are three foreseeable options: install fire shutters, put sprinklers in the library or replace the current window with fire-rated windows. The cheapest option is to install fire shutters, which would be activated along with the school's fire alarm. The cost is estimated to be around $23,400. BLDD has offered to pay $5,000 and Superintendent Doerr has countered that the district and BLDD split the cost 50/50.

Superintendent Doerr reported the monthly spreadsheet shows that the State of Illinois owes the district $130,843.67 in mandated categorical payments. There has been no indication as to when these payments will be processed by the treasurer/comptroller's office.

A preliminary poll of sophomore and junior students indicates that there are around 27 students interested in taking a building trades/ag construction class next year. Superintendent Doerr presented the board with  an intergovernmental agreement, between all four Montgomery County schools, to enter into a vocational consortium. This agreement would allow the four districts to explore various vocational offerings, services, equipment, training, sharing of personnel and materials to create a workforce pathway. The details of the agreement are still being ironed out, and there are still questions as to how it will look for the 2021 school year. The vocational consortium would work with community colleges, professional organizations and other businesses to support and strengthen the program. More details will be presented to the board at their next meeting.

The superintendent ended his report by informing the board of his intention to change the district's Bond Bank from New York Mellon to Zions Bank, as they will provide cheaper fees. No new additional costs will be incurred by the district.

Principals Kevin Reedy and Rachelle McDowell provided written reports to the board. Kevin McDonald also provided a report on the recent Illinois High School Association (IHSA) changes to football scheduling.

Following reports, the board voted to approve the 2019 tax levy as presented.

The board then went into discussion on a motion to approve a resolution to transfer funds from the school facility occupation tax fund  to the bond and interest fund of said school district, abating a portion of the taxes that have previously been levied to pay debt service on the general obligation school bonds. Dr. Doerr reported that with the adoption of the resolution the board would continue to maintain their promise of reducing property taxes with the passage of the one percent school facility sales tax. This will reduce the debt service tax levy by 30 percent. The motion passed with all in favor.

Superintendent Doerr reported that several course changes will occur in the fiscal year 2021. New courses will include Agricultural Leadership, Advanced Culinary art: The Bakeshop (a dual credit course with LLCC), Modern World History, Contemporary World Issues, Contemporary United States Issues, Legal Systems, Economics, Applied Biology/Chemistry (to replace Earth Science). Course changes will include a prerequisite change for Anatomy and Physiology, Food Class will be renamed Culinary Arts, Living Environments will be renamed Interior Design, Advanced Math will be renamed Pre-Calculus and Statistics will undergo a change in the course description. The board unanimously voted in favor of approving the course request and changes for the 2020-2021 school year.

The board went on to pass a motion to approve issuing individual procurement cards. They voted to lease a HUDL camera at $3,000 for the new gym and to approve the first reading of the updated board policies, administrative procedures and exhibits.

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