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  • Fairbury News staff

PC okays abatement

Adam Dontz of GLCEDC spoke to the PC Board of Education Thursday night.

A property tax abatement for Slagel Manufacturing was approved at Thursday’s regular meeting of the Prairie Central Board of Education in Fairbury.

Adam Dontz of the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council told board members the business has requested a 10-year abatement. Slagel Manufacturing will have close to a 30,000 square foot expansion with their investment likely exceeding $2 million, according to Dontz. They currently have 35 employees.

“They’ve agreed to increase that number of employees by 10 percent," Dontz explained.

If for some reason the business doesn’t meet the criteria of paying the wages they say or the square footage requirement, the agreement can be withdrawn. Dontz reported the business is more than doubling the square footage requirements and has agreed to pay more than the required minimum wages for the abatement.

Prairie Central Superintendent Paula Crane feels the number of jobs created may not be as important as the amount of property tax Slagel Manufacturing would generate for the district with the expansion. The full Livingston County Board has already approved the abatement.

“These are good issues that people are adding jobs to the community,” said Dontz, who pointed to good things happening along the Route 24 corridor.

School board president Mark Slagel, who is also president of Slagel Manufacturing, abstained from voting on the abatement.

During her superintendent report, Crane said while the CDC eliminated mask use for vaccinated individuals, there is still no guidance on schools just yet.

“They’re working on getting younger kids (vaccinated),” Crane noted.

Since there is plenty of time between now and August, Crane is not working on making too many plans for next year just yet as everything seems to change.

Crane also presented information on a distance learning lab grant for rural schools which she is the process of applying for. This is a way to look to the future and provides more opportunities for PC’s rural students.

“It would bring some technology mainly to the high school,” explained Crane.

Under new business, the board heard from Tonya Dieken, the director of curriculum, instruction and technology, about the consolidated district plan which has to be put together every year for grants and presented at a board meeting. Crane said this type of paper work didn’t always exist and plenty of work is involved. The consolidated district plan was approved as presented.

IESA and IHSA membership was renewed for the 2021-22 school year for both the junior high and high school. This must be renewed each year and May is the month to do it. In order to compete at the state level, schools must belong to the organizations. Costs are expected to be higher for the next couple of years before going back down.

Changes were authorized to the PCJHS and PCHS student handbooks, although there are very few. Some names and classes were changed for the junior high with no policy changes. The high school book has some additions in response to new school code and laws.

Crane also reminded the board of Saturday’s (May 22) Prairie Central High School graduation set for 1 p.m. outdoors on the football field. Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony.

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