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Time for new buildings in Dixon school district?

Task force: District's schools inadequate for educational needs

Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 4, 2014 9:41 p.m. CDT

DIXON – The strategic planning task force will recommend that the school board develop a plan to address what it calls inadequate schools in the district and hire a consulting firm to help with the process.

The recommendation will be given during the next board meeting on Wednesday, in the form of a report summarizing the task force’s 8 months of meetings, building tours and discussions with architectural firms.

Task force members met Thursday night to review, edit and finalize a draft of the document.

The plan – or blueprint – developed by the district and a consulting firm will look at how the school district can address its aging facilities. Reagan Middle School, the newest building, was built in 1959.

Dixon is at a tipping point in regard to the facilities, the task force said in its report, and it can’t put the issue off any longer.

The school facilities were determined to be insufficient for “21st century” learning, in regard to safety and security, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and when it comes to athletic and performing arts facilities.

Starting with Washington Elementary School, the task force toured all the school facilities and rated their elements on a scale of 1 to 5. Dixon High School was rated as the worst building, and Lincoln Elementary School was rated as the the worst elementary building.

In December, the school board voted to close the Lincoln building and relocate its students starting in the 2014-15 school year, in an effort to address budgetary constraints.

While it wasn’t listed in the final report to be presented to the school board, the task force expressed concern regarding its limited land to expand, if a new school building were to be built.

Paying for any major facility upgrades or new buildings would require increasing either sales tax or property tax, something voters would have to approve.

To attend

The Dixon Board of Education next meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the district's central office, 1335 Franklin Grove Road.

Go to www.DixonSchools.org or call the school district's central office at 815-284-7722 for an agenda or more information.

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