The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

  • 6/24 Board Meeting
The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

The site of Kaneland High School's student news publication.

Kaneland Krier

Board Meeting 4.29.24

Current and past coaches and members of the Kaneland High School track team, parents of track athletes, and members of various news outlets sit in the audience at the April 29 board meeting. The board approved the total replacement of the track 7-0.
Photo By Sarah Slattery
Current and past coaches and members of the Kaneland High School track team, parents of track athletes, and members of various news outlets sit in the audience at the April 29 board meeting. The board approved the total replacement of the track 7-0.

The April 29, 2024, Kaneland board meeting focused primarily on building and ground maintenance plans, with much discussion by board members and public comments from those in attendance centering around the unsafe nature of the Kaneland High School track. After thorough conversation, the board voted to completely replace the track 7-0.

Before the planned discussion of improvements to the track during new business, there were eight public comments. Elburn resident Sheila Albano delivered a public comment focusing on the effects that the planned referendum would have on maintenance projects, while members of the track community Ryan Anderson, Ralph Drendel (on behalf of Jim Claypool), Brayden Farmer, Laurie Hannula, Teddy Janacek, Martin Reutimann (on behalf of senior and current track athlete Collin Reutimann) and Karl Moos delivered messages advocating for maintenance to be done to the track.

“To put it bluntly, the Kaneland track is in an unforgivable state of dilapidation,” Collin Reutimann wrote in a message addressed to the board. “As you are aware, recently, one of my teammates broke his wrist due to an accident that occurred at the track. Warnings were ignored, and a student got hurt.”

When the topic of the track came up on the new business agenda, the board was presented with six different options ranging in the extent of repairs that could be made to the track and two options for where the money for those repairs would come from. The recommendation from partner of Wold Architects and Kaneland’s architect Dan Kritta to the board was to choose either option C or D, which both entailed the removal of the track surface and replacing the full depth of the asphalt underneath. Option C, with an estimated cost of $875,000, would not replace the stone sub-base, while option D, with an estimated cost of $1,140,000, would replace the sub-base. Kritta also presented an option involving the reuse of  some of the existing stone sub-base to save on costs, but only if it was determined to be structurally sound. 

A point that was frequently revisited by both Kritta and several board members  was the action of taking geotechnical measurements of the stone sub-base before any renovations took place. This would give the district more information about the integrity of the sub-base before they started doing any work on the track. Geotechnical measurements could be taken within a week, and usable information could be compiled within two to three weeks after measurements are taken. This would influence the specific details of the plan to repair the track, as renovating the track with an unsound base could result in many of the same damages currently affecting it , like cracks and bubbles.

Board member Jennifer Simmons expressed her interest in ensuring the track is redone the correct way to protect its integrity in the future.

“We don’t want to halfway do this,” Simmons said. “I just don’t want to cut any corners.”

The board also debated where to source the money to improve the track: the working cash fund or the operations and maintenance (O&M) fund. If the board decided to use the working cash fund, the money would first have to be transferred to the O&M fund, as expenditures cannot be directly paid for by the working cash fund.

After a discussion about all of these points, the board passed a motion to direct the Kaneland administration to stop the planned repavement of the bus parking lot and construct a new KHS track following the details of option D with a cost of up to 1.1 million dollars and using money from the O&M fund 7-0.

Keeping on trend with facility upgrades, the board also discussed the capital improvement plan and future referendum plans. For the capital improvement plan, the maintenance needs of the district are assessed and compiled. Director of Buildings and Grounds Mark Payton gave an overview to the board of the capital improvements plan, which currently has all future repairs totaling about 26.6 million dollars. The district typically spends about one million dollars per year on these repairs and is currently planning for fiscal year 2026.

The following new business item was a presentation from the referendum committee to the board on what the schools in the district need. The high school had the most needs since it is the oldest building. The difference between any  projected referendum for this November’s election and the failed referendum last year is that the elementary school needs are projected to be included. Some of those needs include air conditioning in the gymnasiums, specifically at Blackberry Creek Elementary (KBK), McDole Elementary (KME) and the Kaneland IgKnight Personalized Learning Academy (KIPLA), new furniture at John Stewart Elementary (KST) and different playground needs varying from each school, especially at John Shields (KSS) due to  flooding issues.

As the committee presented the financial aspects, the board had many questions. 

“Is there flexibility in those numbers? Or, is it like an all-in? Otherwise, we have to start from the beginning,” Board President Addam Gonzales said. 

Board members’ concerns about facing another failed referendum were clear , so they asked Kritta what the process of this referendum would look like, how long it would take and the real costs if it passed or failed. 

“Born out of the master plan was basically kind of holistic, how can we improve everything we think we can improve…all these things have price tags, and it’s a conglomeration of all those chess moves and components being reorganized and reconstructed on your site,” Kritta said. “You can certainly look back and say we’re going to  keep some of these things and try to modify it in place, and those numbers will certainly change…you have to look back at, what are the priorities of our needs and are we still addressing the highest priority’s  needs.” 

The presentation ended with the board wanting more information, especially from the community, to make sure to cover all student needs while informing residents who do not have kids in the district on how it can impact everyone.  

Still in new business, the board approved by a 7-0 vote the renewal of their employee health insurance and social science units of study, materials, and associated new adoption funding for 2024-25.

The final item of new business included the approval of the 2024-25 student handbook, which included a presentation from KST and KSS assistant principal Kara Salto and KBK and KME assistant principal Keith Tankersley, KHMS dean Sean Herron and the KHS dean Noel Escamilla. These changes and additions included a few language adjustments to be more specific towards mental health advocation by counselors, degenderizing the dress code, the use of artificial intelligence and clarification of what an unexcused absence is. 

Additionally, Superintendent Dr. Todd Leden gave a salute to incoming Assistant Superintendent for Business Jackie Bogan for the recent completion of a doctorate and to Kaneland teachers as Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up. Senior and student representative Katie Pfotenhauer also thanked the teachers in the district.

Later in the meeting, Pfotenhauer gave her report to the board. She discussed past and upcoming events, such as KHS’s Relay for Life cancer fundraiser, prom, the National Honor Society induction ceremony, band and choir concerts and a KHS blood drive. She also shared the successes of the varsity softball, varsity baseball and track teams and the journalism program. At the next board meeting, the new student representative will be introduced.

The final public comments were from Elburn residents Ralph Drendel and Rob Reilley. With an online and website building background, Reilley suggested to the board that they should create a website solely for the referendum to get the word out to the community and explain exactly what their goals are. 

“One of the things you have to sell [about the referendum] is the experience,” Reilley said. “My suggestion was a separate site. I just went on the Kaneland site and you can’t find anything on it…have it everywhere.” 

Board member Aaron Lawler added more  discussion about the referendum to topics for future agendas.

The next board meeting will be held on Monday, May 13.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Audrey Walker
Audrey Walker, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Ad and Business Executive
Name: Audrey Walker   Position: Co-Editor-in-Chief of Print and Ads and Business Executive   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: When I’m not running, working, or spending time with my family, I’m doing something fun with my friends. I like to start crochet projects that I’ll never finish and spend more money on clothes than I should. School is scary, but I’m excited for this year!   My favorite…   Movie: 10 Things I Hate About You Show: Gilmore Girls Sport: Cross Country Animal: Dogs Book: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud Food: Pasta or Chocolate Song: Lover, You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley Band / Artist: Lana Del Rey

Sarah Slattery
Sarah Slattery, Design and Photography Executive
Name: Sarah Slattery   Position: Design and Photography Executive   Graduation year: 2025   A few sentences about me: Some of my hobbies include playing softball, taking pictures at a multitude of sports events, my favorite being football and basketball games, and drinking coffee. I can't wait to continue taking pictures at all of Kaneland's events and having fun with everyone.    My favorite…   Movie:  The Notebook Show: The Queen's Gambit/Breaking Bad  Animal: Elephants Hobby: Photography and Traveling Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth Food: Crab Rangoons Song: Stuck with Me: The Neighbourhood Band / Artist: Zach Bryan and The Neighbourhood