Orion Schools to repair parking lots

Mindy Carls
Orion O

The Orion school board approved $48,050 in parking lot repairs at its meeting on Wednesday, June 16, in the district office.

Waiting longer to make the repairs will just increase costs, Superintendent Joe Blessman said.

The Henry County Highway Department, which has its own asphalt plant, will carry out the repairs at C.R. Hanna Elementary School, Orion High School and the bus garage.

Before the repairs begin, islands on the north side of the student parking lot at OHS will be removed. The islands used to have trees, but after the trees were removed, the islands made it harder to remove snow and ice.

Scott Stephenson, county engineer, detailed the projects:

• OHS, student parking lot — $3,300 to apply three inches of hot-mix asphalt where the islands used to be and $10,100 for 1-1/2 inches of hot-mix asphalt on the east side of the parking lot.

• OHS, staff parking lot — $12,700 for 1-1/2 inch of hot-mix asphalt.

• C.R. Hanna — $6,100, for 1-1/2 inches of hot-mix asphalt for the approaches to the east and west entrances. Culvert replacement is not included.

• Bus barn — $15,850, single seal coat for pavement around the main building, except for the east side.

Athletic uniforms

The board agreed the district and Orion Athletic Boosters would evenly split the cost of athletic uniforms for Orion Middle School and Orion High School teams.

Years ago, when the district had to watch expenses, the boosters agreed to pay the full cost of athletic uniforms. But the boosters took a hit during COVID-19, when athletic events and fundraisers were cancelled.

OHS Principal Nathan DeBaillie submitted the proposal to split uniform expenses, noting the boosters’ financial difficulty. He warned the group might cease to exist next May.

DeBaillie estimated the district would need to spend less than $5,000 a year on uniforms. The boosters have averaged $10,780 a year since 2010-11.

Personnel changes

Dr. Laura Nelson, who is retiring as OMS principal, told the board, “The Orion district is a strong, supportive and caring one. I am so glad that I started my teaching career here and that I had the opportunity to retire here.”

Jennifer Fiers was hired as a full-time special education teacher.

The board granted tenure to five teachers, including Sydney Adams, Alicia Bakener, Aaron Dean and Molly Hickerson at C.R. Hanna Elementary School and Parker Haley, choir director at OMS and OHS.

Board members accepted the retirement of Joline Olson effective immediately. She has been the homebound special education teacher.

Tracy Fausett, OMS teacher, had her retirement proposal accepted.

Ashley Amador was hired as a junior class sponsor at OHS.

Christy Lilly was chosen to work four hours on school days at C.R. Hanna.

The resignation of Jill Filler as assistant girls basketball coach at OHS was accepted.

Superintendent Joe Blessman gave special recognition to the custodial staff for their summer maintenance work.

In other news

• Board members approved spending $40,500.60 (after trade-in) for a 2019 Ford Expedition from Kunes Ford, East Moline. The Expedition replaces a 2009 carryall with more than 150,000 miles.

• The board confirmed the two-year extension of the co-op agreement with Sherrard for boys and girls soccer in IHSA competition.

• Nelson said the Prairieland Conference will resume normal schedules for all sports in August. Kewanee Central has joined the conference.