By Steve Robinson | July 12, 2018 - 10:41 pm
Posted in Category: The Normalite, Unit 5

NORMAL – At what will be the only meeting scheduled this month for members of Normal-based Unit 5 School Board, two new Board members were sworn in to replace two who had resigned in the last couple months, and a third who will leave the Board at the end of this month said his public goodbye.

Amy Roser and Alan J. Kalitzky were sworn in at the start of the 45-minute session to fill vacancies created by the resignations of Jim Hayek Jr. and David W. Fortner, respectfully. They were both appointed to fill the seats and will need to run for election to full terms in next spring’s primary elections in April. Fortner’s unexpired term ends in April 2021, and Hayek’s term remaining will be for four years.

Both Hayek and Fortner have both experienced job transfers – Hayek to Arizona, Fortner to Chicago – which prompted their need to step down. Hayek’s resignation became effective at the end of May after announcing his intentions three months earlier, while Fortner’s became effective June 22.

Roser is employed at Illinois State University as an Associate Director for University College. University College supports students as they adjust to university life, providing programs and services to make a successful transition. She and her husband, Randy, have two daughters who will be going into 3rd and 5th grade this fall, respectfully.

Kalitzky is employed by State Farm Insurance as a Relationship Manager in the company’s Technology Vendor Management Office. He and his wife, Alexis, have four children – three girls and a boy — who are in schools in the district.

A press release from the district indicated a total of six applications for the two positions were received. Board members received six applications for the position. Both appointees have been involved with Unit 5’s Citizens Advisory Council (CAC), which serves as a liaison between the district and its community. Kalitzky, held the title of CAC president when he applied for the Board post He resigned from CAC as a result of his appointment to the Board.

Cleary Departs: Cleary made a public announcement concerning his intention to step down at the Board’s June 13 session. His resignation becomes effective July 31. Under State law, Unit 5 will have 45 days from that date to appoint a successor. That person, after taking office, like Roser and Kalitzky, will have to formally run for the seat in the primary elections next spring.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Cleary said, adding he hoped Roser and Kalitzky would improve it while they serve so that they leave the district “in better shape” when their time to exit the Board comes. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple years, and we had financial challenges though we’re financially stable.” Board President Jim Hitchins presented Cleary with a gift from Board members of a small glass vase. Each of the remaining Board members thanked Cleary for his service and wished him well in his new position. Cleary was appointed to a Board seat in late April 2016, replacing Denise Schuster, a State Farm employee, who moved to Texas as a result of a job transfer for her husband. He was elected to the seat outright in spring elections in 2017.

New Sugar Creek Elementary Principal Introduced: Kristina Peifer was introduced by Deputy Superintendent Ray Epperson to Board members as the new principal at Sugar Creek Elementary School, effective July 31. She last worked in Morton School District 709, starting as a special education teacher and worked her way up to a principal’s position in that district. She earned an undergraduate degree at Illinois State University and her master’s degree at Olivet Nazarene University. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity and honored to be part of this community and looking forward to bring my experiences to working with staff and students in the community,” Peifer told Board members.

New Clerk For The Board: Kim Stewart began her new job as administrative assistant to district superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel. Her duties will also include serving as clerk to the Board. She replaces LaNell Greenberg who took a job as assistant to Normal Community High School Associate Principal Nikki Maurer.

Two-Year Contracts Approved With Custodians, Support Personnel: Board members approved two-year contracts for custodians and maintenance personnel represented by Laborers Local 362, and with members of Unit Five Support Professionals Association which represents district office staff and paraprofessionals.

Construction For Hoose BEST Program Gets Approval: Prior to their May 11 meeting, Board members were given a tour of rooms which house the Behavioral Emotion Support Team, or BEST, at Colene Hoose Elementary School on Vernon Ave. in Normal. BEST provides intensive behavioral and emotional support for students who have such difficulties. During that tour, Hoose Principal Dr. Adam Zbrozek explained Hoose has become Unit 5’s hub for dealing with students who deal with this issue.

The program began over 30 years ago and needs the space it occupies to be reconfigured to better serve students. That would include construction of a 5.200 sq. ft. addition to the building at its east side which would be used primarily by the BEST Program. During the Board meeting this month, Board members gave unanimous approval to awarding a bid of $959,000 for the project to Peoria-based Bishop Brothers, Inc. In addition, the contract calls for Florida-based Marathon Engineering Corp. to serve as a subcontractor under Bishop Brothers for installation of padded walls at a cost of $49,180. That would bring the total bid presented by Bishop Brothers, Inc. for the project to $1,009,180. Bishop Brothers, Inc.’s bid was lowest among six firms who placed bids for the project.

But the project’s funding will also be paid for in part by school land dedication fees collected from developers. The additional space will have a common area and four classrooms. The current space will be redesigned into a large calming room. There will also be a conference area and a sensory room. An additional bus lane closest to the entrance to the room will be constructed.

Construction on the project will start immediately and is expected to be completed by around Thanksgiving.

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