July 25, 2008

Milton Wants Far West-Side School

By From staff reports

If Springfield School Superintendent Walter Milton has his way, a new Springfield High School would be built on the far west side of town on Koke Mill Road.

Springfield High's current site, at 101 S. Lewis St., would be converted into a grades six-through-12 science and technology academy.

Milton's recommendations, which also include closing Laketown and Pleasant Hill elementary schools, were among many he proposed Monday night in response to a Springfield School Board request to hear his take on recent recommendations made by a district facilities committee.

Milton's own proposals varied slightly from the committee's. They also included:

* Rolling Lincoln Magnet School, 300 S. 11th St., into the new academy at the current Springfield High site and convert Lincoln into an alternative school.

* Closing Pleasant Hill, 3040 Linden Ave., and move its students to Matheny-Withrow Elementary School, 2200 E. Jackson St., which would be rebuilt.

* Closing Laketown, 1825 E. Lee St., and move its students to Hazel Dell Elementary School, 850 West Lake Shore Drive, which also would be rebuilt.


Eyeing rising fuel, metal and construction costs, Rochester school officials are looking to reduce the price of building a new intermediate school on the east campus and a fieldhouse on the Illinois 29 campus, along with security improvements at Rochester Elementary School.

"Metal prices have increased 28 percent in 45 days," School Superintendent Tom Bertrand told the Rochester Board of Education on Monday.

The board's building committee proposed about $900,000 in reductions to the construction projects that would not adversely affect education, according to board member Dennis File. BLDD, the district's architects, has been directed to proceed with plans for the construction projects - which will be paid for by a bond issue voters approved in February - but recommend additional ways to cut even more expenses. he said.

"We had planned $16.6 million for the intermediate school, and now costs are projected to be $17.4 million. A $6 million fieldhouse is now $7.5 million," Bertrand said, adding that the cost of proposed security improvements at Rochester Elementary have doubled to $200,000.


The Williamsville School District has successfully stopped its deficit spending as it tackles its cash-flow problems.

Extensive budget cuts and other money-saving tactics have resulted in a savings of at least $800,000, Superintendent Dave Root told the school board Monday night.

This surplus should curtail the district's need to borrow money for the 2008-09 school year.

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