District 709 OKs tax deal

Steve Stein GateHouse Media Illinois

District 709 received $8,187 in property tax revenue last year from the vacant land on which Monsanto is building a warehouse for its Precision Plating operation.

Using the same tax rate, the district would have received $79,229 had the warehouse been built.

The district became the latest Morton taxing body to provide a five-year, 90-percent property tax abatement for the $5 million project May 7 when the School Board voted unanimously for the economic incentive.

During the abatement period — 2014 through 2018 — the district will receive nearly $40,000 in additional property tax revenue from the warehouse.

Monsanto plans to use the nearly $500,000 it will save from the abatement from all the taxing bodies to resolve land issues at the warehouse site.

Kim Uhlig from the Morton Economic Development Council told board members the 100,000-square-foot warehouse should be completed by the end of the year.

The Morton Village Board unanimously approved the abatement May 6.

Also May 7, School Board members:

• Welcomed Kelly Scarfe and Shaun Bill to the board and said goodbye to board members Joyce Kaiser and Michelle Kaeb.

Scarfe and Bill were elected April 9. Kaiser, who served on the board for eight years, didn’t run for re-election.

Kaeb was appointed to the board in August 2011 after Noah Menold resigned.

Clint Heinold and Tom Neeley were re-elected April 9.

Board members voted for Heinold to serve as president, Tim Taylor as vice president and Michelle Bernier as secretary for the next year.

• Praised Lincoln Elementary School Principal Sheila Taylor and Morton High School Assistant Principal Adam Eucker, who are leaving for new jobs.

Taylor, principal at Lincoln since 2004, will be principal at an elementary school in Norwalk, Iowa, her home state.

Eucker, who is completing his second year as assistant principal after teaching driver’s education at the high school from 2006 to 2011, will be the athletic director and assistant principal at Williamsville High School.

• Learned an agreement with the village of Morton that includes a 99-year rent-free lease of green space next to Jefferson Elementary School for use during the Morton Pumpkin Festival is being revised so the Morton Chamber of Commerce, not the village, takes ownership of the site during the festival.

The chamber is the festival organizer.

The land next to Jefferson has been the site of the festival for more than 40 years.

“It makes sense to have the chamber in the agreement,” said Superintendent Lindsey Hall.

The School Board approved the agreement except for the Jefferson lease April 23.

It will consider approval of the lease May 21.

• New school board members elected at the April 9 election were seated — Shaun Bill, Tom Neeley, and Kelly Scarfe. Clint Heinold was absent and will be seated at the May 21 meeting. • Outgoing board members Michelle Kaeb and Joyce Kaiser were recognized. • Officers were elected by the board — Clint Heinold, president; Tim Taylor, vice president; Michelle Bernier, secretary. • Sheila Taylor and Adam Eucker were recognized by the board for their service to the district. They have taken administrative positions in other school districts for next school year. • Teachers from the Green Team at Morton Jr. High reported on their experience piloting Kuno devices during second semester of this school year. • Dr. Lindsey Hall reported on the Life Safety work that will be completed at each building during the upcoming summer. • Dr. Teater reported that the Crisis Committee met recently for their annual meeting. Discussion items: • 2013-14 school fees — slight increase in lunch prices; adjust junior high textbook fees from seventh-$111/eighth-$118 to $115 for both grades. • 2013-14 Bertha Frank Performing Arts Center rental fees — no changes • Proposal to lease buses beginning with the 2013-14 school year. These items will be brought back to the Board of Education for approval at the May 21 meeting. Items approved by the board: • Revision of Policy 2:180—a student ambassador from the high school will attend three Board of Education meetings throughout the school year instead of every month as the former policy stated. This practice will begin during the 2013-14 school year. • Resolution for a 90 percent tax abatement for five years for Monsanto Inc. • Amended the 2012-13 school calendar officially making the last day of school for students May 22 with a Teacher Institute on May 23.

Meeting highlights