There are quite a few usual summer tasks that weren’t necessary in the final school year for the 100-year-old Hall High building, and superintendent Mike Struna told the school board Wednesday he may be able to drastically cut the operations and maintenance budget.
“I’m confident we can cut that fund down about $100,000,” Struna said. Even at that, the district may see a budget deficit on maintaining the old school.
Struna hopes a temporary tarring job for the leaky auditorium roof will keep the rain out for just one more school year. The maintenance staff led by Mark Scheri this summer skipped a lot of esoteric jobs, such as hallway floor waxing and blacktop sealing and striping. Struna has no reason to order classroom furniture, since the new school will have new furniture, and most years they’ll re-furnish a classroom or two.
Instead, Scheri and crew did things like patching a stairwell ceiling from which plaster fell, continuing to repair sewer leaks causing sewer gas to come from walls in bathrooms near the band room and trimming trees that were rubbing on power lines for the Nesti Stadium south-side lights and which likely would have brought down the lines.
“(They) did an awful lot of work we didn’t need to outsource,” Struna said.
Despite efforts to avoid unnecessary spending, the tentative budget Struna showed the board Wednesday will be a deficit budget. He said he’ll be able to show cuts from the operations and maintenance fund by the time the board meets to approve the budget Sept. 24.
The tentative budget shows $60,000 less revenue than the $3.9 million in spending for the education fund, but the state has not yet provided figures on how much transportation, special-education aid and some other aid it will provide this school year.
As for the new school under construction, project manager and Hall graduate Tony Orlandi from Leopardo Construction said the shells of all the new buildings are in place, so passers-by can get a good idea of the layout. Two towers on the three-story classroom building will be adorned with new stone in the coming weeks, so people will see the new face of the school. He said the construction has been moving along quickly in the past month, and contractors and subcontractors should have the buildings enclosed on schedule by winter.
“Leopardo is very pleased with the local participation of onsite tradesmen, with roughly 28 Hall High School alumni participating in the construction to date,” Orlandi reported.
Board president Jack Boroski called for a moment of silence due to the death of 33-year librarian Barb Fulara.
Businesses support vocational education
Hall is sending more students to the Area Career Center at La Salle-Peru this school year, (32 compared with about two dozen in previous years). Businesses and donors have pledged $15,000 in scholarship donations to help Hall afford $17,500 to send those extra students to ACC; Leopardo made a $10,000 donation. “I was really happy with people supporting vocational education,” Struna said.
Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 220-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_NewsEditor.