United School District 304 held a school board meeting last Thursday. The primary topic of discussion was the initial report of the district’s 10-year Life Safety Survey Report. The report, which was presented by the district’s architect Bill Phillips, detailed steps District 304 must take over the next decade to ensure their buildings are up to code in terms of safety. District Superintendent Jeff Whitsitt called the report “daunting,” but knows it’s a necessary evil.
“We’re trying to spin this thing and twist it to be something that is a gain for our kids. If we can improve some aesthetics and some quality of the educational environment while we’re meeting the code issues then we’re ahead of the game,” he said.
The report was initially started in September, and the district will approve the report at next month’s school board meeting. The youngest building in the district is 41 years old, while the oldest is 60.
Whitsitt also addressed the nationwide school walkout that approximately 35 United High School students took part in on Mar. 14. Whitsitt believes this is a teaching moment for schools and administrators to ensure they are aware of the mental health of their students:
“I feel like we’ve worked hard to take some steps that way. We added an elementary counselor. We added a position to our staff this year because we saw that need walking through our elementary buildings,” he said.
To hear more of Superintendent Whitsitt’s interview, click on the link below:
written by Jackson Kane