By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
The Quincy School Board on Wednesday approved a plan to let students from the Quincy Area Vocational-Technical Center's building trades classes carry out renovations to the district-owned house at 2424 High.
Once the renovation work is completed over the next 18 months, the district will be in a position to sell the house and use the proceeds to buy another dilapidated home that could be fixed up, marketed and sold as part of an educational experience for students.
The board attempted to sell the High Street property at an auction last June 30. However, the high bid of $16,000 failed to meet the undisclosed minimum selling price established by the School Board. Board member Scott Stone came up with the idea of using the house as a training ground for vo-tech students who not only will do the construction but also hone their design, finance and marketing skills.
"I think it's a great project," Stone said.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, the board approved a plan to begin using a new state-run service to collect delinquent debts. The board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the state comptroller's office to become part of the Local Debt Recovery Program.
Under the proposal, any debts the district is unable to recover can be forwarded to the comptroller's office in accordance with a state law that went into effect in December 2011. The law gives the comptroller authority to withhold cash in the amount owed the district from any state checks to be sent to an individual, including state income tax refunds. In addition, a $15 fee would be withheld as well to help pay the comptroller's costs.
The board also approved a proposal to engage Franczek Radelet, a Chicago law firm, to prepare and file claims asking the state to recalculate the district's state aid for tax years 2005 through 2012.
The last time the district carried out a similar claims project involving state aid, it managed to get an additional $280,000 for a review that spanned five years.
Board member Steve Krause questioned whether the state would have the financial wherewithal to pay the Quincy School District additional money when the state is already far behind in making payments owed to the district.
"I would just be happy if they paid us what they owe us," he said.