Dist. 218 proposes $27M bond issue

  • Written by Jessie Molloy

The Community High School District 218 board of education voted unanimously Monday to adopt a resolution declaring its intent to issue $27 million in bonds.

            A public hearing on the issue will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 15 at Richards High School, 10601 Central Ave. in Oak Lawn. The proposed bond issue would be increase the district’s working cash fund to finance construction projects and capital improvements throughout the district

District 218 includes Richards, Shepard High School in Palos Heights and Eisenhower High School in Blue Island.

            Planned capital improvements include the ongoing construction of the science wing expansion at Shepard, which the board said is about two to three weeks ahead of schedule, and the restoration of athletic fields at all three schools. The athletic fields work began at Richards this year when the football field was removed and reseeded to improve the playing surface and drainage. The Bulldogs’ field at Korhonen Stadium is expected to be ready for the start of next football season.    

            The board has also approved emergency spending of $260,000 for a new chiller at Eisenhower. The funds for the unit came from the district’s working capital reserves, though the exact cause of the breakdown is being investigated to determine if it can be covered by insurance. The new unit will be shipped and installed in an estimated four to six weeks, and summer school class schedules have been altered to keep most the classes on the cooler first floor. Should the next month and a half bring extremely hot temperatures, the district has a contingency plan to relocate classes to Shepard and Richards in case of a heat wave has been established, but barring extreme weather the district plans to continue with the schedule as planned.

            In other District 218 news, the board has adopted a new grading policy officials said will better align the evaluation of students across the district and strengthen curriculum. All tests and exams will be common to all three schools, and will be used to calculate 85 percent of students’ final grades. The new grading policy is the final phase of a plan that has been implemented over the past four years in an attempt to ensure students across the district are learning the same material.

            “We think there are certain skills students need to learn,” said District 218 board President Marco Corsi. “We have to come up with a way to validate that they are learning them.”

            The final decisions on what percent of grades will be based on common curriculum and the new teacher evaluation processes that will go along with the new policy caused a minor dispute between the board and the union that represents the district’s teachers, but the two sides reached an agreement on the matter last week, according to District 218 Assistant Superintendent Ty Harting.