11 months ago


The Mokena Messenger 012518

4 | January 25, 2018 |

4 | January 25, 2018 | The Mokena Messenger School Mokena D159 Board of Education Fees for 2018-2019 under review Amanda Stoll, Assistant Editor Fees for the upcoming school year were discussed during the Jan. 17 meeting and are expected to largely remain the same except for transportation fees, which are expected to be eliminated for some students. Last year those fees were increased to compensate for a projected deficit in the transportation fund. Transportation costs were recommended to be waived for students living more than 1.5 miles from their school and for those living less than 1.5 miles from their school along a hazardous route. The fee recommendations for students living less than 1.5 miles away are recommended to remain at $375 per student. There is also a proposed maximum family expense of $750, which would impact families with more than two children riding the bus and living within the 1.5 mile radius of their school. Transportation fees for the current school year were $200 per student living more than 1.5 miles from the school and $375 for students living closer than 1.5 miles regardless of living along a hazardous route. There was also no established cap for families with multiple children. Registration fees for kindergarten, early childhood and grades first through third were proposed to remain at $250 with a $25 tech fee for kindergarten through third grade. Early start program fees remain undetermined because the district applied for a grant that could fully or partially fund the program. Fees for the current school year were $607.50 for students in the program. Registration fees for fourth through eighth grade were proposed to remain at $275 with a $25 tech fee for grades fourth and fifth. The technology fee for sixth through eighth grade were proposed to double from $25 to $50 for the upcoming school year. Dr. Kathleen Wilkey, assistant superintendent of instruction, said the increased cost will help support the district’s 1:1 students to laptop computer initiative, as well as pay for cases for the devices and offset Round it up A brief recap of other matters discussed during the Jan. 17 D159 Board of Education meeting •In addition to the fee recommendations, Dr. Teri Shaw, chief school business official, gave the board a written update from the custodial staff regarding repairs and maintenance done around the district buildings during winter break. •The kitchen floor at MES was replaced, the main circulation pump motor for the hot water heater at MIS was repaired, the bearing assembly on the air handler at MES was replaced, a packing leak on the sprinkler system at MJHS was repaired as well as various, minor plumbing and electrical repairs at all three schools. •The board of education is expected to meet next during their regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21. Board members are expected to vote to approve fees and could vote on the calendar for the upcoming school year. The calendar was still being finalized as of the January meeting. any costs stemming from accidental damage. The tech program is expecting students to be able to use the same devices through their time at the junior high and take them with them when they graduate from eighth grade. Jake Smith, director of technology, said the district does not pay for insurance on any of the student devices, which cost about $175 including cases and software. The cost of insurance is comparably high at $25 to $35 per device, so he said the cost to repair or replace such an inexpensive device is not worth the cost of the insurance. Extra curricular fees will remain at $50 for team sports including band, jazz band and choir. Fees for clubs, including percussion ensemble, will remain at $25, and intramural fees will remain at $10 per activity. Lunch fees will remain at $3.05 per lunch and milk fees will increase from 30 cents to 35 cents for the upcoming school year. Personnel changes The board unanimously approved district bills and voted in favor of the personnel recommendations. Lisa Zielinski abstained from the personnel vote, but declined to comment on her reason for doing so. Personnel recommendations included the resignation of Angelo Makropoulos, the fourth and sixth grade band instructor and part-time physical education teacher at Mokena Intermediate School. Makropoulos had been working in the district since the fall of 2016. The board also approved the retirement of Administrative Assistant Cheryl Paben effective in 2020, the hiring of Andrew Boss as a part-time physical education teacher at Mokena Intermediate School and a temporary assignment for Lisa Pezzuto as a payroll assistant for the district. Superintendent Dr. Omar Castillo sent a draft of the contract with Xplosion Basketball Organization, which is up for renewal. The organization uses the gymnasiums at Mokena Elementary School and Castillo had good things to say about the organization during the meeting as well as in his written report. “The district and the organization has maintained a positive partnership for the last four years and our school district students benefit from this outside sport organization,” Castillo stated in his written report to the board. Wilkey gave the board an update on the music program and the short term plans in place in the wake of Makropoulos’ resignation. Diane Leo, music and art teacher at MIS, and Rebecca Cheney, music and choir teacher at Mokena Junior High School, are assisting Karen Bussean with the MIS and MJHS bands. Administrators, staff and board members all commended and thanked Bussean for her dedication to keeping the music program running as smoothly as possible as school started again for the year. Bussean also recently led a five-day junior high band trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Florida. Lincoln-Way Community High School D210 Board of Education Future uncertain for LW North building T.J. Kremer III, Editor The question of what to do with Lincoln-Way North, which shuttered its doors at the end of the 2015-16 school year, was addressed during the Thursday, Jan. 18, Board of Education for D210 meeting; however, the answer remains murky. Superintendent Scott Tingley, during his district report to the Board, brought forth for consideration a plan to put out a request for quotation among potential appraisers to estimate the value of the building. Tingley said he has received — through the District’s architects — the names of several potential appraisers that would be capable of performing the appraisal, though the cost of such a service wouldn’t be known until the RFQ process is complete. Any potential sale would have to cover in excess of $100 million remaining in bonds issued by the District for LW North. Tingley said the District spent about $300,000 last year in operating and management costs and, if the building were to be used as a school again, then the costs would increase to about $6 million per year. “We have not yet had any organization or group that has been willing to cover at least [approximately $2 million cost to operate the building in a non-school capacity] for me to come back to the Board and say, ‘OK, somebody’s willing to at least cover the cost now. What would we determine the cost for depreciation and use in addition?’ We’re not to that point,” Tingley said. Tingley said he anticipates being able to provide the Board with the results of the RFQ at its Feb. 15 meeting. Keeping a roof over their heads It was announced during the meeting that the District has accepted a bid to restore, rather than retrofit, Round it up A brief recap of other items discussed during the Thursday, Jan. 18, Board of Education meeting •It is anticipated that enrollment across the District’s schools will drop by about 340 students over the next five years, according to data collected and used in a “cohort survival method,” a method that takes known elementary feeder districts’ and applying a grade progression ratio. •A request to push back to March 6 a land sale agreement for 71.9 acres at 7551 W. 191st St. in Tinley Park was unanimously approved. A $900,000 difference in the asking price and what the buyer, Woodman’s Food Market, Inc., is willing to pay was cited as the reason for the amendment to the land sale agreement. •Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Timothy Reilly announced changes to several academic programs, including: a social sciences shift from a focus on western civilization to world history; starting all incoming freshman, with rare exceptions, in algebra I; and making environmental biology as the first year option for biology classes. Lincoln-Way East’s roof, potentially saving the District approximately $150,000 and adding up to an additional 30 years on the existing roof, according to Director of Buildings and Grounds Rich Wilkey. Wilkey told the Board that tests of the current roof showed it was a good candidate for the cheaper restoration option. “The way we’re looking at this, once you retrofit or put another roof on top of the existing roof, your next step is a complete tear off,” Wilkey said. “To do a complete tear off on the roofs of these school buildings means upgrading the insulation to the new energy code … It becomes very, very, very expensive very quickly. The longer we can keep our roofs intact, the better for the District, in terms of dollars, in the long run.” news the Mokena Messenger | January 25, 2018 | 5 A light goes out Marley Candles owner dies, leaves behind legacy of perseverance T.J. Kremer III, Editor It seems some people begin life with a natural tendency to shuffle around this Earth, constantly in search of the next adventure or challenge to occupy their time here. And so it was with John Fixari, the longtime owner of Marley Candles, before he died Dec. 25. The oft-travelled Fixari — who, at various times, has called New Lenox, Lockport, Minooka and Stark, Florida, home — claimed careers in construction, the bar industry, horesery, the hotel industry and trailer park owner, not to mention a tour in WWII as a Navy pilot and flight instructor, and, later, a private flight instructor. “He had never been not self-employed; he had a hard time working for other people,” said Fixari’s daughter, Nancy Fixari, who now runs Marley Candles. The late Fixari purchased Marley Candles in 1979, just after his stint as a hotel owner in Florida. At first, the idea was it would make a nice way to enjoy retirement, Nancy said. But that quickly changed as John poured his typical go-all-theway attitude into the business by building additions to the store, “re-inventing the wheel” by coming up with faster, more efficient ways to produce candles, and adding as many as 16 employees in the early ‘90s. “In the beginning, it was manageable, it was fun,” Nancy said. “... Then things started to grow and grow, and we had to have a lot more employees … And my parents were very adverse to hiring more people; let’s just work harder.” And work harder he did, shattering any idea of an easy retirement with his quest to produce more and more candles. “My dad would tell me and my sister, ‘You kids ruined the business,’” Nancy jokingly said, laughing as she fondly recalled memories of her father. But that strong work ethic was seemingly just what John’s nature was: Even in post-retirement retirement, John Fixari, longtime owner of Marley Candles, died Dec. 25. Photo submitted John felt the need to have a “hobby,” and so in March when he moved into Clarendale of Mokena he began painting WWII planes. Nancy said she has thought about selling Marley Candles in order to give the business a new generation of life to keep it going, but, so far, people seem to shy away once they discover how much work is actually involved. And so the business will stay with Nancy for the foreseeable future. And John now finally gets that retirement he so richly earned. ‘No tax increase’ referendum to be put on March ballot Staff Report The Frankfort Square Park District Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution that will allow a referendum question to be placed on the March 20 general primary election ballot, providing $1.5 million in bond proceeds to complete capital improvement and park and facility repairs throughout our District. Approval of the “NO TAX INCREASE” minireferendum was supported by Park District residents responding to the recent, independent community survey, completed by the University of Illinois, with 82 percent of respondents supporting this action. The question to be put on the ballot is: “Shall the Frankfort Square Park District, Will and Cook Counties, Illinois, purchase and improve land for new parks, improve existing parks and facilities of said Park District and issue its bonds to the amount not to exceed $1,500,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?” Mini-referendum information will be distributed to all Park District households in the winter/spring brochure that will be mailed in mid-December, posted on the Park District’s website at 22ND CENTURY MEDIA is looking for local FREELANCE REPORTERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS to cover events, meetings and sports in the area. Interested individuals should send an email with a resume and any clips to CHICAGO SOUTHWEST CHICAGO NORTHSHORE MALIBU