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$745,000 project set at Reagan

Part-time athletic director position cut

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

DIXON – The school board voted Wednesday to this summer tackle $745,000 of $2.9 million in renovations slated at Reagan Middle School.

The district plans not to borrow any funds, or raise taxes for the project, said Superintendent Michael Juenger.

Also, the board approved administrative salaries, agreeing that increases would be capped at 2 percent, with the exception of the superintendent.

The Reagan renovation plan calls for replacing deteriorating windows at a cost of $300,000, to update lighting in the school’s newer addition for $255,000, and to install new heating, ventiliation and air conditioning roofing units in the cafeteria for $190,000.

A $62,000 energy grant might offset lighting costs, Juenger told the board, and the new lights are expected to save the district in utility costs, possibly paying for the lights in a decade.

Because the board levied 5 cents in taxes in its health, life, safety fund and has a surplus in its operations and maintenance fund, it will not need to borrow to do the work, Juenger said.

The district levied about $300,000 less for bond payments for next year and anticipates it will levy more than $300,000 less again the following year.

Board member John Jacobs said he was reluctant to plan too far ahead without getting additional price estimates. He said a second estimate reduced the cost of window repairs from $500,000 to $300,000.

Board member Jim Schielein raised concern about spending too much money on the district’s aging buildings without a long-term plan, but said Wednesday’s proposal allows the district to take care of its immediate needs and buy time.

Strategic planning and facilities committees were appointed Wednesday that will look into the long-term funding prospects for Reagan renovations, as well as study the district’s aging building situation.

Also, the part-time position for activity and athletic director held by Jon Empen was eliminated. Due to budget cuts, the position was combined with the assistant principal’s position, at a savings of $20,000.

Karen Price, assistant principal at Dixon, will assume the majority of the responsibilities, with duties being shared by three high school administrators.

“[Empen] has done an outstanding job as the AD and he has guided the activities and athletic department in the right direction,” Juenger said.

Empen will remain as a physical education teacher.

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