Education, Local News

D161 Board considers big-ticket items

Members of the Flossmoor District 161 Board of Education debated several items at the July 5 meeting, including adding kitchens in the schools and continuing professional development programs.

The board heard information about a plan to spend more than $40,000 on a kitchen improvement study. The kitchens at elementary schools in the district limit the food service options for students. The proposal from Wold Architects and Engineers is presented in two parts. The first part is an engineering and architectural assessment, and the second part is food service consultant fees.

Part I of the study would include an inspection of facilities costing $14,900. The firm would then judge the feasibility of construction work on the four elementary school buildings and present the plan to the board. 

Part II of the plan would include food service consultants and deliver a more detailed plan for expanding or creating new kitchen spaces and installing new equipment. This part comes with a price tag of $28,900. If the district proceeds with the plans, Wold would credit 50% of the study fee to the design phase of the associated project.

Board members expressed concerns about spending so much on the study at this time. Board President Carolyn Griggs indicated that kitchen expansion was not a “high priority.” It is unclear if the proposal will be called to a vote at the next meeting or shelved until a later date. 

Board members also expressed concerns and asked questions about two additional items on the meeting agenda. The board is considering approving  contracts with Capturing Kids’ Hearts and DeEtta Jones and Associates for professional development. The total combined cost of these two items is over $130,000. 

Because these professional development services are currently funded by grants, the district is unsure if they will be an affordable expense in the future. Board Vice President Cameron Nelson recommended that the district ask the vendors for copies of any material that may be reused.

A vote deciding whether to continue the programs will be conducted at the next board meeting. 

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