Monday, August 18th Construction Update

Monday, August 15th Construction Update from the superintendent:

Good evening, this is Scott Kuffel, superintendent of the District 228 schools. Here is your Monday construction update.

We see tonight that four more classrooms have the vinyl tile installed at Millikin School, leaving four classrooms to be completed. It appears that the final four classrooms will be completed and the flooring contractor will be out of the building by Tuesday evening. There are still items that need to be completed before students would be able to attend, plus we are still required for our Regional Office of Education to complete a walkthrough to grant us occupancy. The person from the Regional Office who will make the occupancy recommendation has already been on site and is following progress closely, and she has been very helpful as we work towards opening the school. The final check for occupancy is not scheduled until Wednesday afternoon.

We can confirm with you all that we will not be opening school for student attendance on Thursday, August 18th. To be clear, this means that none of the Geneseo Schools will open on Thursday. However, it is our goal to open for student attendance on Friday, August 19th. Our plan right now is to switch one of our second semester teacher inservice days (the Monday after Easter) for this Thursday, which means the Monday after Easter becomes a day for student attendance. So please make arrangements for childcare this Thursday, August 18th.
We then will know fairly early on Wednesday afternoon if we will be able to open all schools for Friday. You will get a final confirmation call on Wednesday to alert you one way or the other. If we attend school Friday, it will be a one-hour early dismissal.

While you may disagree with a plan to open on Friday, we want to share with you the rationale to perhaps help you understand the thinking:
1. Much like a play has a dress rehearsal, or a team has a pre-game warmup, we would like to get a day of student attendance in so if there are procedures that need changing; such as drop-offs or pick-ups, lunch logistics, etc, we have some time to think carefully and make those changes over the weekend. Even in a “normal” year, the first day has its share of hiccups.
2. If we are approved for occupancy at Millikin on Wednesday afternoon, we have a chance for that building to have another 24+ hours for final cleaning, teacher setup, and to allow for a Backpack Night on Thursday evening.
3. We are also completing some parking lot work at Geneseo High School, which will greatly benefit from another day to complete since a great deal of parking has been lost due to the demolition at the south end of the building.
4. We know that work will still be ongoing at three of our schools, regardless of when school begins—but there is really not a reason to continue to hold out students at all schools when the main areas are renovated, clean, safe, secured and cleared to occupy, especially at Millikin.

To review—no student attendance on Thursday, August 18th at any of our schools. The Back to School Nights scheduled for Northside, Southwest, Middle and High School are still going on as planned on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

Our goal now is to open all schools on Friday, August 19th, with a one-hour early dismissal attendance day. Monday, August 22nd would also be a one-hour early dismissal day. The Ladders PreK program would not begin until Tuesday, the 23rd at the earliest, but further notifications will be forthcoming.

Look for another update on Tuesday evening. Thank you again for your patience during this time of frustration and impatience. The spirit of collaboration and community has been fantastic and we truly appreciate all of you making this so worthwhile. Have a good evening.

Scott D. Kuffel, Superintendent

Sunday, August 14, 2016 Progress at Millikin

As you know, we have been awaiting the delivery of the flooring for the southwest corner of Millikin School to be able to bring the building into readiness for occupancy.  The flooring was delivered yesterday and the offices and 3 of the 11 classrooms needing flooring were substantially completed.

We will urge parents at all five schools to make contingency preparations for childcare for both this Thursday and Friday.¬† We will update you with Monday’s progress, and hope to make a final decision about the start of school at all the buildings on Tuesday afternoon.

We appreciate your patience and hope you will agree when you see the progress over the next couple years, that the frustration of awaiting the work finishing was well worth it.IMG_8634 IMG_8635 IMG_8636 IMG_8637 IMG_8638 IMG_8639 IMG_8640 IMG_8641 IMG_8642 IMG_8643 IMG_8644

August 11 SchoolMessenger: IMPORTANT

This is Scott Kuffel, Superintendent of the District 228 schools.  We hope that you have had a wonderful summer.  It has been very busy here with the beginnings of much of the ProjectLEAF construction underway.

This message brings hope for a fantastic 2016-17 school year, but it also brings a warning of the potential that unforeseen construction issues could delay the start of our school year for student attendance by a couple of days.  This would be a delay that would be in place for ALL 5 schools.

Candidly, the flooring contractor for the Millikin school renovation dropped the ball and did not order the custom vinyl, low maintenance flooring we requested, and it is not scheduled to arrive and be installed when we expected.  If the flooring arrives on Saturday, which is one possibility, then it appears that installation can occur starting Sunday afternoon and we can put things back into place and open school on Thursday as planned.

If the flooring does not arrive on Saturday, then we may need to delay the start of student attendance until Monday, August 22nd.  Therefore, I ask your patience and cooperation and plan for a contingency for child care for next Thursday and Friday, August 18th and 19th, just in case.  Again, this would be a change for all five of our schools.

I apologize for this possible inconvenience, but there are many reasons that we would want to open all of our schools at the same time, and we are examining all possible scenarios.  Please be assured that we will work diligently to keep you as informed as we can with the most accurate information we discoverРso be aware there will be more calls, Facebook posts, and web posts.  Thank you for your consideration and joining us in contingency planning. Please know that we make these types of decisions on what we believe is best for student safety, security and success.

No more PARCC testing for High School Students

An announcement made on July 11, 2016 by the Illinois State Board of Education ushers in a new era of testing for high school juniors.  No longer will the ACT be the entrance exam of choice offered by the State Board of Education, but instead all juniors will be provided an SAT test in April.  Because of federal requirements (I know, there are federal requirements also) high school students will still take a science exam.  This is good news though as it will reduce the spring testing burden for our high school students.

Impact on Federal Dollars due to Budget Impasse

More information related to the State Budget impasse. As the laws in IL currently seem to indicate, failure to pass a budget means that the State of Illinois cannot make necessary appropriations for federal revenues. This means that school districts will not receive their expected federal revenues.

For Geneseo District 228 this means the loss of more than $750,000 in IDEA Special Education reimbursements, Title I or Title II dollars for special programs, and no allocation for the National School Lunch program.

Another reason to contact local legislators and the Governor’s office to get back to work to bring this to a resolution.

Congratulations to Boys Track and Coach Fredericks

A special thank you and congratulations to Coach Don Fredericks this week. He will take zero credit for the Boys Track team’s success at the State Meet, but for¬† many years he has done so much for Geneseo Track and Cross Country. From making sure students have the right equipment, to advocating for more classes to enable more student-athletes to experience state finals, to mentoring a cadre of young coaches– he truly embodies the district mission to “Teach-Learn-Care”.

So, Coach Fredericks, savor that big hardware that came back from Charleston on Saturday. You never stopped believing. We are as proud and grateful for your work as we are the kids!