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  • Fairbury News staff

PC approves bond resolution

The Prairie Central Board of Education has authorized a resolution issuing $5,997,000 in taxable general obligation school bonds to increase the district’s working cash fund.

This money will be used to build a new gymnasium at Prairie Central Elementary in Fairbury. The estimated tax rate will stay right where it is at now, according to Kevin Heid of the wealth management and investment banking firm, Stifel.

“These are taxable interest bonds which they have to be,” explained Heid. “The tax rate changes according to what the EAV does.”

Prairie Central Superintendent Paula Crane compares the district working cash fund to a savings account where enough money should be in the fund in case something happens.

“The state wants you to have at least 100 days of operational money in there,” Crane said.

Once funds are depleted, the district needs to replenish it. Crane feels the district is fortunate since state money is actually coming in – unlike past years. This makes Prairie Central much more stable and able to move on to address issues which have needed attention for a while.

“We can use that (funding) as it is intended to pay for the operation of our schools,” added Crane.

In order for the district to pay back the bond, it has to generate tax money. If the equalized assessed value, or EAV, goes up, more people are sharing the cost of the bond so everyone pays less.

Crane anticipates spending about a year to plan for the new PCE gym, which would not only be used for the school but the rest of the district and the community as well. The structure would likely include storage space and small areas for educational purposes. The district’s Building and Grounds committee will be a part of the planning process.

During her superintendent report, Crane noted ESSER 3 grant money was not yet approved but there is some movement on the DCEO grant which is for a security system. She updated board members on the food situation acknowledging the lunch menus sometimes change as the café workers use what they have to. Crane said state test scores have not come in so the information will be shared next month.

District resident and parent Logan Spenard appeared before the board during public comment. He questioned why the district is still following mandates and suggested the district get back to normal teaching kids. He also asked about current COVID-19 numbers for the schools, which Superintendent Crane said were trending better than a few months ago.

Also during the public comment portion of the meeting, the mother of a student expressed concerns over bullying and harassment.

“The no bullying zone isn’t really a thing,” the woman said.

Crane recommended meeting with the dean of students or principal regarding the matter and offered to help problem-solve if her office is contacted.

In other action during Tuesday night's regular November meeting, the Prairie Central Board of Education:

-Approved a joint agreement with Livingston County districts to continue with the Livingston Area Career Center.

-Authorized a school improvement plan for the Junior High.

-Okayed a stipend for substitute van drivers of $15 an hour.

-Approved the consent agenda and meeting minutes from Oct. 21 and Nov. 15.

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