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109 Air Conditioning Project Shows Teamwork

After a parent outcry during a hot start to school, a thorough approach by District 109 will make cooler classrooms on hot days a reality.

What began as a public outcry during the hottest days of last summer and a promise from Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education members and administrators to investigate turned into the reality of air conditioning for the Village’s elementary and middle schools.

Some or all of the schools will be air conditioned before the next school year begins. Starting with the two-story buildings, everything should be done before the 2014 school year begins.

Earlier: 109 Air Conditioning Project Progresses

“We’re going to make it work as best we can,” Board President Ellen London said in September.

It almost seemed like exceedingly hot weather, parent discontent and studies by the District 109 Board of Education were coming together at once to cool things off. In the end, the Board was unanimous in its decision but will spend more than it originally hoped.

“If we’re lucky it will cost $7 million,” Board member Nick Begley said in September. “If we’re not lucky it could cost a lot more. That’s why we have to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”

Though the final cost is more than twice what was originally hoped when additional capital expenditures were added, the entire project was within funds the District had set aside for long term improvements, according to comments made by Deputy Superintendent Greg Himebaugh at the Board’s Jan. 14 meeting.

“You can make it work from our existing fund balance,” Himebaugh said Jan. 14. The scheduling of the overall work allows the payments to be made in three fiscal years. “That’s kind of what I had in mind.”

Board member Steve Schwartz explained there were proposals as low as $8 million but when all needs were considered on a long term basis, the $15 million price tag made more sense including the removal of the existing wall units in some classrooms in favor of a central system.

“We have more hot days and kids with asthma and allergies seem to be on the rise,” Schwartz said. “This will do the job right. Not only is it less noisy but we would gain class space. Though the cost came in at $15 million, we planned to do a lot of the work anyway.”

Some of the work included in the proposal was planned whether air conditioning was added or not. “If you take out the total amount we would have had to do anyway, the job is closer to $10 million,” Schwartz said.

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Julie Simon January 22, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Thank you to Pro-AC!
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 22, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Yes, thank you Pro-AC for not following up on any of your commitments and convincing the district to spend more money that is not needed. Double the price tag of the original estimates and not funded directly by the parents, despite numerous commitments to do so. Another great example of the loudest voices in the room getting the attention. When there is no money left for gifted programs or special education, just be happy your kids are nice and cool for the 3 weeks of the year the AC is running. Genius.
Tom January 22, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Ronnie, get your eyes back on the road. There have been several petitions from Walden parents over the last 3+ ys . They never acceptd our offer to pay for the AC. Now the board came up with this brilliant idea on their. They still have the petitions, names, ph numbers & commitment. Give us a call, it's that simple. Donate $500 & get your name on a thermostat.
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 23, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Terrific. If the Board does not accept your offer, they are dolts of the highest order. Donate 2000 and your name can be right on the condenser and you would have my full support.
Dylan January 23, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Just curious Ronnie....besides complaining about EVERYTHING, what exactly are you doing to improve.........anything? Don't you think your efforts could be put to better use helping others rather than just knocking them down? If the loudest voices in the room got attention, it is because those with the voices fought for something they believe in rather than hiding behind a computer. As with most of your posts, you do not have a clue what you are talking about. How many school board planning meetings have you attended? How do you know there will be no money left for other programs? Oh, that's right. You do NOT know what you are talking about.
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 23, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Dylan, maybe I didn't wear a name tag that said ronnie the limo driver. maybe I attended more meetings than you think. Maybe you want to sell my opinions short, but many others happen to agree with me. Dylan, what do you do besides complain about me. PS The school board's budgets are public info, you don't have to attend meetings to understand them.
Dylan January 23, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Ronnie - if you attended the meetings, you would know how the AC will be paid for, why don't you explain it to all of us. Which current school programs will be cut to pay for AC? Why don't you elaborate on the gifted and special education programs that will be cut? Since you know it all (and no one else does), please enlighten the rest of us.
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 23, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Obviously you do not understand the basics of finance and math in addition to reading at a grade school level. Notice I said "when" programs are cut, not that they are eliminated now. That is not how it works or clearly the AC improvements would have no support. Since you want me to explain it to you I will. These "improvements" are going to be paid out of the fund balance, which people may also call reserves. The ratio of fund balance to operating budget happens to impact the districts credit rating, which controls the borrowing cost. These reserves are supposed to be for a "rainy day" when unexpected expenditures occur. By robbing from the future to pay for unnecessary expenditures now, the district is mortgaging our future. No programs are planned to be cut at this time. However, the district did not consider how these changes will impact the operating costs from now into the future. Common sense tells you these costs will go up. Eventually these costs will exceed what the district takes in, so it will need to either cut programs or increase revenue through tax increases. Now that I explained that to you, what else can I help you with? Perhaps how to tie your shoes?
John Russillo January 23, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Educational fund balance reserves were approaching 50% which is almost double what the ISBE recommends. Whether this was done in anticipation of A/C I don't know but the fact is that there was money available and using it will not affect the credit rating.
Dylan January 23, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Ronnie - again, I ask you, what are you doing to help the greater good? All you seem to do is bully and attack people. Why so bitter ALL of the time? It seems if people do not share your thoughts and beliefs, they are wrong. There is so much sadness and bitterness in the world. Why must you add to it? It is ok to disagree with someone but your tone is uncalled for. Just because someone does not agree with you, does not make them wrong...it means they don't agree with you.
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 23, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Dylan, I am not going to get into all the charity work I do, because I do not do it for attention or recognition. I consider voicing my opinion being a responsible part of being a citizen. I do not care for govt. waste. If you follow my posts, some are negative and some are positive. I am not the one who turned this into a negative discussion. You tried to call me out as somebody who did not understand how things work and I proved you wrong. Now you want to say I am a bully. All I did was defend myself.
Dylan January 25, 2013 at 04:29 AM
Ronnie - Your first post on this article was negative!!! Not sure where/how you proved me wrong but if it makes you feel better to believe, I'll go with it. Thanks for the laugh!!!
RonnieTheLimoDriver January 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Dylan, are you a member of the glee club? A Cheerleader? Disagreeing is not negative. Pointing out the absurdity of a situation is not negative. Dylan I proved you wrong when you thought I didn’t understand school finance because I didn’t attend the meetings. Wrong on both accounts. WRONG just like the decision to spend more tax payers money on AC that will be used for less than 3 months a year.
Dylan January 25, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Ronnie - yes I am a member of a Glee Club, a cheerleader and a happy person. I am sorry you can not say the same. Again, thank you for the laugh! I truly appreciate it.
D'skidoc January 25, 2013 at 01:24 PM
Again Ronnie: Try driving the limo on a 70 deg. sunny day with the windows closed all the time and keep the ventilation down to simulate mid-20th century minimum airflow requirements. Does your client in the back like stuffy hot air? Would you expect your accountant or lawyer to work in a stifling office and give you their best work? Why don't you think kids deserve a decent environment in which to learn? Don't you want to give those kids the best chance to be educationally successful? Or are you just a "Scrooge"?
Dylan January 29, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Ronnie - now I am going to prove you wrong....there IS wide-scale support for air conditioning our schools. Just because you do not agree with it, does not mean others feel the same. IF you REALLY attended school board meetings, you would KNOW the support this has. I have children in district 109 and not one student, parent, teacher, aide, etc has said "wow this is a stupid, wasteful idea". You might be the only one. Accept it and move on. Your energy could be better used elsewhere BTW, I also believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy

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