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$6.4 million bonds for Pana district sold

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer

(PANA) — The Pana School Board approved the purchase of nearly $6.4 million dollars of construction bonds during Monday’s meeting. The meeting was delayed a week due to the President’s Day holiday the week previous.

Four of the seven Board members were present to approve the sale of bonds for the construction of a new elementary school in Pana which will replace both Washington and Lincoln schools. The sale was conducted by Stifle, Nicolaus and Co. of St. Louis, Mo. on Monday. Kevin Heid of Stifle Nicolaus said the sale went well. He said “a couple of local banks” got in on the bidding and bought bonds. He did not disclose which banks or the amount they purchased. Average interest rate is 4.67% over the 20-year life of the bonds. “Interest rates are not what they were a year ago,” Heid concluded.

Repayment of the bonds will be through a 1% sales tax being collected inside the school district. Every December, the Board will have to pass a resolution to abate the property tax levy on district taxpayers for the bonds since an alternative source is being used to fund the bonds. Complete payback of the bonds is scheduled for 2047.

The motion to approve passed unanimously, 4-0, with members Doug Kirkbride, Kyle Anderson and Mark Beyers absent.

Speaking of the new school construction, Buildings and Grounds Director Jeff Stauder reported progress was slowed in February due to the wet weather. He did say footings have been poured for half of the gymnasium. Pre-cast walls are expected to be going up by mid-March.

Stander also said Poettker Construction has been removing the mud and replacing it with rock to make work go smoother, even if more rain comes.

The replacement of five heat exchangers and one exhaust fan motor have been replaced at the junior high school. Stander said the maintenance of those units on top of the junior high has a price tag of about $19,000.

In other business, it was announced high school graduation will be Friday, May 19, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. It will be an outdoor ceremony at Brummett Field, weather permitting.

Paul Donahue, director of curriculum, announced a new science curriculum will be selected in mid-March. He also announced the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) testing in language arts and mathematics for junior high and Lincoln Elementary School will take place during the week of March 20.

Intergovernmental agreements with Regional Office of Education #3 for safe school programs and alternative high schools were passed. While the school district does not have to participate in these programs, there must be an agreement in place if they do participate.

High School Principal Kevin McDonald announced high school senior Chloe Ashcraft was awarded second place in the state VFW’s “Voice of Democracy” essay contest. She received a $1,500 scholarship from the veteran’s organization.

A senior class day trip to St. Louis was approved by the Board. Itinerary includes time at Union Station and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.

Seniority lists were approved by members and a three-year contract with Bushue Human Resources, Inc. was approved. No cost associated with the contract was noted.

An executive session was called at 7:02 p.m. and when they emerged at 8:10 p.m., the following employment actions were taken:

Employed, Joan Saatkamp and Christopher Duplayee as substitute teachers; Transferred, Angela Neal from district sub to music teacher and Carol Schramm from volunteer girls track coach to head girls track coach; Resignations, Zach Senger, high school History teacher; Amanda York, high school dishwasher; Claire Holthaus, high school girls track; Lynn Pumphery, high school teacher; Mark Schmitz, junior high teacher; and Deborah Johnston, bus driver; and hiring Bradyn Hamilton and Myah Miles as volunteer high school girls soccer coaches and Kylie Hocq, high school softball coach.

The meeting adjourned at 8:12 p.m.

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