By EDWARD HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
MENDON, Ill. -- The Mendon School Board has decided to sell the Loraine Elementary School.
The board has agreed to seek sealed bids for the facility, which has been shuttered the past two years. The sale would include 4.52 acres of land. The bid deadline is until 10 a.m. May 8.
The board will be prepared to take action on the sale at its May 15 meeting. However, the board is also reserving the right to reject all bids and cancel the sale at any time.
Bid forms may be obtained by calling the superintendent's office at (217) 936-2111 or by visiting the district's website, www.cusd4.com.
A bid notice issued by the district notes that the school and property will be sold "as is," and a check equal to 10 percent of the offer must accompany each bid.
The board also announced plans to conduct a public auction of surplus property, including desks, cabinets, books and other items. The auction will be held in conjunction with an open house at the Loraine School for prospective bidders. More details about the auction, including the date, will be announced in coming days.
The decision to sell Loraine Elementary School is part of a cost-saving effort in light of declining state funding. Closing the Loraine School would save the district about $12,000 in utilities and upkeep costs.
In addition, the School Board has been studying the feasibility of adding on to Mendon Elementary School so it could handle more students at a single location. Taking this step also could lead to the eventual closure and sale of Greenfield Elementary School.
The board continued discussing possible ways to cut about $400,000 from its fiscal 2014 budget.
Superintendent Diane Robertson said about $312,000 could be saved by:
º Eliminating or not filling a half-dozen positions, saving $170,000.
º Implementing a health reimbursement account, saving $100,000.
º Switching energy providers, reducing electricity costs by 30,000.
Robertson also said the district could increase its revenue by about $117,000 through various fee increases, including student activity fees, drivers education fees, and student instructional, book rental and technology fees; revenue from selling advertising in gyms and at outdoor fields; sales of reserved seats at ballgames; consolidation of travel costs by combining games; and more assistance from booster groups.
The board will take action at its April 17 meeting on the proposed fee increases.
The board also learned that the federal government's sequestration action could cost the district about $20,000 in revenue associated with Title 1, Title 11, special education and vocational programs.