By CHRISTY JANKOWSKI
Superintendent Brett Robinson of Cerro Gordo Schools brought forth multiple proposals for roofing work, drainage work, and asbestos removal during the board’s April regularly scheduled meeting. The board met in the band room with one member attending via Zoom, and two members wore masks.
While many boards have met remotely or cancelled their meetings, because of Covid-19 concerns, Cerro Gordo still met in person on April 15 in the band room at 6:30pm.
The district may not have the normal activities occurring with spring such as: sports, musicals, award ceremonies, Honors night, and there is no word yet on how graduation will occur; however there are talks in the works to plan something special. Robinson stated, “We are having conversations about those things but no plans.”
Currently students that are in the elementary building are picking up packets of work, attending Zoom meet-ups with their teachers, and teachers are contacting students and parents to check in on their progress.
In the Junior and Senior High School Google Classroom and other methods have been used. One teacher in particular made certain the district was aware of how pleased she was with the district’s handling of instruction during these uncertain times. Dr. Vicky Gilpin, High School English and Drama teacher, wrote:
“As we look at what other teachers are doing in other districts in Illinois and in other states, CG teachers respect and appreciate how you have approached distance learning with us; you’ve had us be a part of the process the whole time, choosing what to do based on our courses and students. Some of us were meeting yesterday online, and it came up how lucky we are. In other schools, the administration is super micro managing every minute with crazy requirements, getting in the way of education, because they do not trust their teachers to do what is right for the students or they are being pressured by other powers to make sure the teachers are earning their paychecks. I know you have been working like crazy since this all began, and we have been working our butts off during these 3 weeks, and I wanted to make sure you knew that we recognize how you are respecting and validating professionalism while also guiding us in what we need to do. THANK YOU!!!”
Another parent also sent in an email to Board President Tony Piriano offering her thanks to the High School Principal, Jeremy Rodebaugh.
Robinson thanked staff and faculty during the meeting as well. “It’s a challenging time with school closure with the coronavirus pandemic.” He thanked, Mindy Sawyer and the kitchen staff for assembling school breakfasts and lunches stating the current new number is 125. Robinson himself delivers the lunches and breakfasts to bus riders. “I assure the folks are very appreciated and get to say hi to the kids from a distance.”
He went on to thank the teachers for the parade around the entire district. “Our teachers organized a parade around the entire district, and then they prepared remote learning lessons that are new to them and new to our students and they did tremendous work on that.” He went on to add that the Principals have been communicating with teachers, students, and parents as well. And gave special mention to the custodial staff, “Custodial staff remain on call to sanitize after we have had people in and out of the buildings.”
Also, Mr. Johnson the head of the custodial staff is starting on a few summer projects during this time. There is a lot of work to be done, and not all of it will be completed by the summer stated Robinson. A majority of the work includes: bleachers and press box, electrical underground wiring for the track and football, minor sidewalk repair, lighting upgrades throughout the district, air conditioning for the high school art room, locks and door handle replacements, possibly a change of brick on the 1962 building. “There are some classroom doors where the locks and door handles and things need to be changed so looking at that with safety and security in case of a lockdown situation, that’s one of the items we’re looking at.” He added, “Also talked about to address some of the brick eroding on the west and east sides esp 1962 edition and it’s not very aesthetically pleasing to have 1929 brick on the old building meshes well with the addition and the other doesn’t mesh as well.”
There is in the works a “grain bin” sort of structure that will be placed in the Elementary playground to provide shade from the sun. The district cut one tree down a while ago, and their only remaining tree fell during the recent severe thunderstorm. The National Weather service cited straight line winds as the cause for the damage throughout Piatt county which occurred earlier this month. Board Member Angie Miller brought up the possibility of handicap accessible equipment for the Elementary playground as well. Robinson said it is being discussed.
New Approved Business
The board approved a proposal for around 15,000 with Helitech to install a subfloor drainage system at the Elementary annex which also requires a two part asbestos removal. Robinson stated, “They are going to dig a trench on the inside wall all around the perimeter of the elementary basement.” Adding, “Because any water coming up in the ground is too over saturated and we think that it is coming underneath through the foundation and they will come through a trough. And it will drain into a draining system and spit out into a catch basin that is out in the elementary playground and there are also two sub pumps that will be installed.”
For the asbestos removal the board approved Triple A at a cost of $19,500 to do the entire basement. As far as Robinson is aware that is the rest of the asbestos that needs removed.
Ideal Engineering was approved for a cost of around $17,000 for their design, and environmental engineering and oversight.
Robinson states all of the costs will come from the Health, Life, and Safety.
For the roofing work, the board approved Joiner. The state has a matching program for up to 100,000 for roofing work. At this time the board approved two sections that are in need of repair. One is the Elementary annex at a cost of $28,600. The other is for the over the high school locker room, a part of the 1962 addition, at a cost of $33,736. As many know the leak there can be quite demonstrous. Board Member Todd Henricks compared it to Niagara Falls. Robinson joked, “If you have watched post iceberg Titanic…” In the future the roof over the Ag building might be replaced as well.
Lastly the board approved masonary work with the brick on the 1929 building connecting to the new addition. Robinson stated, “It happened to be because of infiltration between the bricks and is inside the wall.” Adding, “It is a common thing with brick buildings especially our age. So we need work done in those areas because we have a roof there and want to protect our investment.” The board approved Steven’s Masonry at a cost of $48,200.
Other approvals include:
•Approval of Floyd and Associates to conduct the 2020 fiscal year audit
•Approval of the first reading of the ISBE Board Policy Changes
•Hiring of Cassie McCleery as Family & Consumer Science teacher for 2020-21, Zach Van Matre as elementary custodian, and appointed Andrew Buhr as an assistant HS girls’ basketball coach for 2020-21.