The last board of education meeting of the fiscal year for Pontiac District 429 was relatively short, but Supt. Brian Dukes updated board members on summer projects and received approval for a new Chromebook lease agreement and membership into the American Association of School Administrators digital consortium.
    During his summer project update, Dukes informed the board about summer work going on in each of the district’s buildings. Beginning with the junior high, Dukes said the addition to the sidewalk in front of the school has been completed with new bike racks for the students.
    “Brian and I decided to add one more bike rack on each side, between the bike rack and the street. We’re going to add one more set of bike racks because we feel there is enough space out there to accomplish that and it will give us a few more bike spots,” Dukes said.
    “Also, if you haven’t noticed, the junior high gym floor has been stained. I think they have to stain one more time before they come back and do the color. I understand they are on pace to finish the gym floor on time, which is good news.”
    Dukes also reported that the student patio outside the junior cafeteria doors was recently completed.
    “The tables were installed this morning,” Dukes said. “Next week, the junior high library will have its carpet and vinyl replaced.”
    Moving on to Washington School, Dukes said because of all the rain that the area has received over the last few weeks, the roofing companies are getting backed up. He said a group was originally supposed to start repairing Washington’s roof this week, but he anticipates they are going to be backed up for a couple of weeks, putting the roofing project on hold.
    “We’re also adding some cement and a new bike down at Washington,” Dukes said. “The cement is in place right now, but the bike rack has not been installed yet.”
    In regard to Lincoln, Dukes said all of the tile on the second floor and the three classrooms on the first floor has been removed and new tile was starting to be added yesterday.
    Finally, at Central School, Dukes reported that the gym floor had been removed and the new walls for the gym are up. Tentatively starting next week, Dukes said the construction crew will start adding the new floor. In regard to the water leak in the tech room, which sits just below the gym, Dukes said a solution still hadn’t been finalized.
    “We don’t know how exactly we’re going to fix that yet, so we’re not going to do anything with the floor in that room until that issue gets resolved,” Dukes said.
    In action items, Dukes received the board’s approval for a Chromebook lease agreement. He said the plan is to use the incoming sixth graders as a “trial run” for the new set of Chromebooks. The total cost over the three years of the agreement is roughly $50,000.
    “Some of these Chromebooks will go to staff members as well,” Dukes said. “This particular model of Chromebook is a little bit more heavy-duty and has a stronger screen with touchscreen capabilities. We’re considering using this model with the junior high and maybe Washington, but until we’ve had it for a year with the sixth graders to figure out what works and what doesn’t, we don’t want to make another big purchase.”
    Dukes also got approval from the board to purchase pre-kindergarten playground equipment for Central School. He said the district recently received some additional pre-kindergarten funding.
    “Part of the grant that we reapplied for, had criteria that we had to meet and basically that criteria was created by the evaluation they give us every single year and some of the areas we’ve been dinged in the past with is the equipment size for our preschoolers not being appropriate,” Dukes said. “So, part of the grant that we planned for was to add additional playground equipment.”
    Dukes said the plan is to place the equipment on the west side of the playground behind Central School. The area is currently grass right now, but Dukes said he would like to see the pre-kindergarten playground equipment there.
    “The playground is a pretty good size and it’s going to take up a big chunk of that land, but again, that will meet the criteria the state has for our pre-k program,” Dukes said. “Half of the cost will be paid through the grant and a little bit less than half will be paid through our sales tax.”
    One of the last open-session approvals by the board was for Dukes to join the AASA Digital Consortium. Dukes told the board that the group is part of the National Superintendent Association. He previously attended one of their events two summers ago in Chicago and was asked if he would consider joining their consortium.
    In closed session, the board approved the retirement of junior high physical education teacher Becky Six. Dukes said the district recently received her intent to retire after 42 years in education.
    “She has coached a lot over the years and also served as athletic director for a number of years,” Dukes said. “So, we’re very grateful for all of the things she has done and provided to our kids here in Pontiac. Obviously, we are very grateful to have had her over the years and we are wishing her the best moving forward with the next step in her career.”
    Dukes said Six is still going to be able to coach junior high golf for the district, which was one of her passions.
    “We’re really excited that she’s going to keep coaching for us, but we really just wanted to wish her the best in retirement,” Dukes said.