The Effingham Unit #40 Board of Education forecast a series of upcoming maintenance projects that will need to be completed across the district at Monday’s board meeting. Some of the projects are required for safety reasons, but others have been continuously delayed due to funding and other circumstances. Of particular concern is Effingham Junior High School. Superintendent Mark Doan remarked that much of building is original from when it was built in 1939.
According to him, due to dated electric and plumbing, things in the junior high could go wrong quickly.
The middle school is not the only building in need of updates. Other building projects, including new parking lots, HAVC updates, roof repairs, and various other maintenance could run the district around 28 million dollars. Granted, many of those projects do not have to be completed all at once, but delaying them will only mean that they will have to be fixed down the line. Unit #40 Treasurer Rem Woodruff said that “Deferred maintenance in pubic buildings, especially in public schools, is an epidemic across our country.” The board agreed Monday night to hold a special meeting to focus on how to deal with maintenance issues.
The board also heard a presentation on the district’s 2016 Report Card, which is based on standardized test performance. However, according to Director of Curriculum and Instruction Michelle Beck, standardized test score should be taken with a grain of salt. While Effingham outpaced the state in areas such as graduation rate, Effingham has an 85.7 percent 4-year graduation rate compared to the state’s 85.4 percent, it fell behind in other areas such as low income students that rated “proficient” in standardized testing. Superintendent Doan warned against making too many assumptions based on one-shot, high-stakes testing.
The data from standardized tests is used on the local level to see which academic areas the district needs to focus on for instructional improvement.