Pair Of New Poles To Shed Light On Parking Problem

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Two new light poles will be going up in the Lincolnwood High School parking lot after a split vote by the Panhandle Board of Education during their meeting on Monday, Sept. 20.

The board voted 4-3 to approve upgrades to the parking lot lighting, which includes the placement of two new 24-foot tall poles featuring 15,000 lumen lights and new lights and a lighting yoke to the existing pole for an amount not to exceed $15,000.

Superintendent Aaron Hopper presented one proposal to the board, with another expected the next day. The original proposal was in two phases: the replacement of the lights on the old pole and high school canopy for phase one and the placement of two new poles and lights for phase two.

Board member Scott Cowdrey said that the lighting issue had been one of the things he had wanted to remedy since he came on the board and said he would rather go ahead and have the two new poles placed as well, instead of just going with phase one of the project. He added that anything would be better than the current situation, though, and commented on the lack of visibility at the exit on the north side of the parking lot.

During the discussion, board members Linda Brown and Gabe Pope said they were in favor of replacing the lights on the existing pole to see what kind of difference it made and to see if the other two poles were needed. Board member Dana Pitchford also opposed the lighting, saying that she didn’t think any changes were necessary and that it wasn’t that dark.

Brown, Pope and Pitchford voted against the proposal, while Cowdrey, Heather Millburg, Brett Slightom and Terri Payne voted for it.

The other main discussion point of Thursday’s meeting was to discuss restructuring the district’s 2012 bond issue, with David Pistorius of First Midstate Investment Bankers speaking about the opportunity.

Pistorius said that interest rates have never been this low for this long (in the ones and twos), but are expected to go up at some point. He also provided numbers to the board members that said if they restructured the bond, they could save taxpayers $48,000, which would be in an escrow account, with most of it taken off the 2028 levy.

Pistorius told the board that a decision wasn’t needed that night, but they could provide First Midstate with a number of savings that the district wanted ($48,000 or more), then he could act when interest rates correspond with that number.

Pistorius said the bonds’ interest rates are currently in the 3.75 to 4.0 percent. He added that if interest rates go up and the board waits, the savings will be less, but if interest rates stay the same and the district waits, the savings will be more because it is less time in an escrow account.

The board agreed to discuss the matter further and get back to Pistorius.

In addition to the consent agenda, the board also approved the 2022 fiscal year budget for the district, with a budget hearing held prior to the board meeting.

Before entering closed session at 7:53 p.m., Superintendent Hopper and Lincolnwood Principal Ken Schuster provided their administrative reports.

Hopper’s report touched on the Illinois State Board of Education meeting he attended on Aug. 25, Grandparents/Dear To You Day at Farmersville Grade School and the district’s first Collaboration Day on Sept. 15, where teachers and staff met to review fall benchmark assessment scores and other classroom level data to assist in the development of curriculum opportunities and intervention strategies to support student learning within the school district.

Hopper also thanked the Community of Faith Church for feeding the staff a meal in August and commended everyone involved in the TEAM Golf Outing.

Schuster also thanked all of those who helped with the TEAM Golf Outing and recapped some of the athletic accomplishments of the Lincolnwood teams.

He also said in his report that students have taken a baseline test for the school’s response to interventions program and have been tiered for differentiated and individual instruction based on individual need.

Schuster also noted that FASFA Night is Oct. 1 and that fall pictures have been taken for both Raymond Grade School and Lincolnwood Junior/Senior High School.

After the board re-entered into open session, four more motions were improved. Sara Jenkins was approved as an LPN for the 2021-22 school year, while Madi Harrison and Judy Best were approved as co-yearbook sponsors, with Harrison also listed a sophomore class sponsor. The board also voted to employ Lori McClung as a part-time special education teacher and approved the retirement of Robert Card at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

The meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m., with the next meeting set for Oct. 18, at 7 p.m.

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