Dixon to add emergency days to end of school year

Task force gives recommendation to school board

DIXON – If Dixon Public Schools took something away from this year's severe winter, it was to be prepared.

The school board voted unanimously during its regular meeting Wednesday night to add an additional five emergency days – to the five the district usually has – to the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

Like most school districts in the Sauk Valley and the state, the Dixon school district was forced to use its five scheduled emergency days to cancel classes because of snow and cold this year.

If the weather had forced the district to cancel another day, it would have been faced with the decision of using an "act of God day" to cancel classes or add an attendance day during a break.

The academic calendar was on the school board's agenda for March, but Superintendent Michael Juenger asked the board to table the item so faculty, staff and parents could be polled about their preference for the additional five emergency days – either during spring break or added to the end of the year.

There were 219 votes cast, Juenger said, with 62.6 percent voting to add the emergency days at the end of the year.

The academic calender approved by the school board has the last attendance day scheduled for May 27, 2015, with 10 emergency days between May 29, 2015 and June 11, 2015.

Task force recommendation

Chris Hammitt, a representative from the strategic planning task force, gave the school board the task force's recommendation after spending 10 months reviewing the state of the school buildings and meeting with architecture firms.

The task force evaluated all the buildings in several areas, including asbestos, mechanical systems, safety and security, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, among others.

The task force determined that the buildings were lacking in all areas, Hammitt said.

In May, the school board could get presentations from the same two architectural firms and their consultants who made presentations to the task force and potentially move forward from there.

Green and Associates and Arcon Associates Inc. made presentations to the task force in February and reviewed different ways the school buildings could be renovated, in addition to the possibility of a new building.

If the board decides to contract one of the firms, the strategic planning could start soon after, Juenger said, beginning with community meetings to gauge the interest.

The school board also unanimously voted not to release its closed session minutes from the past 6 months.

Juenger said pending litigation was the reason the district's lawyers recommended the minutes not be released.

Next meeting

The Dixon Board of Education next meets at 6:30 p.m. May 14 at school 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.