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District 39 Unveils 2013 Budget, Chinese Language Program

Plans for the renovations of several schools are also underway.

The Wilmette Board of Education met Monday night to discuss the new 2013 fiscal year budget calendar and plans for facility renovations. D39 also announced updates on the board's plans to outsource student transportation.

D39's business manager Crystal LeRoy gave an outline of the board's plans for the 2013 fiscal year budget, which begins July 1, 2012 and extends to June 30, 2013.

The entire tentative budget will be presented in June, with the final approval occurring during August's board meeting.

D39 also presented their plans for future facility projects. Harper and schools will be subject to extensive rebuilding of their schools' roofs. 's science facilities will also undergo remodeling, with the addition of three new science classrooms and the renovation of three already-existing classrooms.

"The administration, the teachers, the district architect, have worked collaboratively over the last several months to design a project that is affordable and addresses the concerns that have been brought up regarding the safety and curriculum needs for the science program," LeRoy said.

Wilmette Junior High School will also be repurposing several classrooms in order to create space for a performing arts area.

LeRoy also addressed the concerns regarding , following last month's public hearing. 

"In addition to the financial savings, outsourcing transportation has other benefits," LeRoy said. "It could eliminate staffing issues and transporation maintenance requirements, as well as the possibiliy of adding flexibility to student drop-offs and pick-ups at school, reduce wait time for students, and also offer more availabity to cover field trips and other projects and services we can't accommodate due to our low resources."

LeRoy said that the current transportation staff would have the opportunity to be absorbed into the bus company D39 chooses to contract with. The final decision for that particular company will be made in D39's March meeting.

Before adjourning, Superintendent Ray Lechner announced the possibility of a new Mandarin Chinese language program, which would be taught to fifth graders this fall. Each year, D39 will add the language program to each successive grade so that Wilmette students will be prepared to take Chinese as freshmen in high school.

"I'm very excited about the possibility that's coming before us," Lechner said. "The study of languages has become a fundamental building block in a world class education."

The next Board of Education meeting will be held at 7pm on Monday, February 27th at  the . D39 meets every fourth Monday of the month.

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