The new Morris Community High School District 101 board, during its first regular meeting Monday, approved pursuing a $50,000 grant for school improvements.
The board gave Superintendent Dr. Pat Halloran permission to apply for a $50,000 state school facility maintenance grant. The grant will offset the cost of the repaving of the student parking lot planned to be done this summer.
The district received this grant last year, said Halloran. It was used for the purchasing of a new lift system at the school, for automated dividers in the field house, and for a new cafeteria sound system.
“This year, they are limiting it to one project, and it cannot be one already in progress,” said Halloran to the board.
The school will be getting a price break on the repaving of the student parking lot and circle drive in front of the school by working with the city in sharing costs for paving work. Stephen Lutz, building and grounds director, said the city is still waiting for bids to come in on its street maintenance work. They hope to start the work by July.
The district and the city worked in conjunction last year for the paving of the school’s other lots.
Halloran said he believed the district would again receive the grant from the state.
In other cost-saving measures, Halloran updated the board on where the district stands on its new agreement with Saratoga School District 60C and Morris Elementary School District 54 for shared school bus transportation.
Currently, all three schools share special education transportation, and the high school and Morris Elementary share regular busing through Illinois Central School Bus.
Saratoga leases its own fleet, and the high school and Morris Elementary report they will see significant savings by using Saratoga as a provider. The high school is estimated to save $80,000 to $120,000.
The school districts are in the process of hiring a dispatcher who will coordinate the operation, said Halloran.
“Mrs. Perry at Saratoga and her staff have been hard at work ordering buses and coordinating what is needed to help this process run smoothly,” said Halloran in his report.
Halloran said they have had six applicants for the dispatcher position. He said the shared buses will say “Morris Community Schools” on the side.
The school board also approved continuing with a full-time school resource officer at 40 hours a week.
Morris Officer Steve Huettemann went from part-time to full-time in 2011.
“He does a great job and is a great resource,” said Assistant Principal Jeff Johnson.