Dr. Shannon Dudek , Superintendent of School District 54 was our guest speaker. Before coming to Morris in June of 2016, Dr. Dudek served as Superintendent of District 69 in Peoria, IL. Dr. Dudeks focus was on three main areas, Staffing, Facilities, and Finances. Several positions were open due to people retiring and taking positions elsewhere.
David C. Raffel is the new Principal at White Oak as of April 2017. Dr. Dudek worked with Mr. Raffel in Peoria and knew of his success in that district. Mr. Raffel seems to be very involved and popular with the student body and staff alike. His last fundraiser for the PTO was to have the students purchase duct tape pieces for $1.00 each and tape Principal Raffel to the wall. His efforts raised $700.00 and were publicized on Facebook and Twitter.
Tammy Dransfeldt is the new Dean of Students.
Marie Stover has been hired as the Dean for Special Education.
Kevin Mikuces is the new Athlectic Director.
Doris Knoll has been hired as a Security Adviser. She has already put programs in place to address Fire Drills, Visitors on the school property, radio communication, student safety and more.
Shabonna and White Oak schools have been combined starting in the 2017-2018 school year. White Oak serves around 1200 Pre-K through 8th grade students.
The Shabonna building is being rented out to various organizations. Morris Hospital is renting about 22,000 square feet of space. They will be moving their Medical Records and Billing Departments to that building.
Joliet Junior College is also renting part of the building. Morris High School uses the soccer, field and track for their programs.
There are plans to refurbish the track. Currently the track is 6 lanes wide and they would like it increased to 8 at some time in the future. A long jump area might also be added. This project, in conjunction with the Morris High School should cost around $375,000.00 and another $50,000.00 for equipment.
White Oak School will add a new coating to the roof to a cost of $350,000.00. This will prevent furture leaks and have a 20 year warranty.
55 parking spots were added to the rear parking lot and a new digital sign will be added at the entrance.
The district is working with IDOT and the City of Morris to open access to Route 6 with a right-in-right-out at the Locust Street intersection.
Jim Wright questioned the plan to pay off the high priced bond dept for White Oak. The White Oak building should of been paid on in 2018. However, because of a loss in revenue, the bonds had been refinanced. Dr. Dudek said the plan is to pay off 75% of the debt within 8 years. This will also coincide with the expiration of the TIFF. Art Hornsby commented that the day the building was opened, they knew they would not be able to pay back the bonds.
Dr. Dudek and his staff are working on stabilizing the property tax rate at $3.60, which is the same rate as 2016. As bonds fall off between now and 2025, less will be paid on interest and they will start to pay on the $18 Million bond principle still owed on White Oak.
District 54 has started to receive money from the State of Illinois since the budget has been passed in Springfield, IL. $500,000.00 comes to the district because 50% of the student population is considered eligible for free or reduced fee programs. District 54 is in the 2nd tier (2nd from the bottom) in a 4 tier system with the State. There is a low likelihood that they will lose state funding.
A thank you to Dr. Dudek for attending our meeting and providing information on what is/has been going on with the schools.
* We NEED to set up a work date for the Rotary Park *
* Starting 7/25/17 - Updated location for meetings in Maria's Ristorante and Pizzeria*
- Location: 1591 N Division Street
Morris, IL 60450
- At Maria's, members will be billed for food on quarterly Statements. *only if you eat*
* WE NEED EVERYONE AT THE NEXT MEETING *