Following an almost year-long extensive process, the District 123 Board of Education in March 2019 approved a new strategic plan that will guide the district through 2024. Goals one and two concentrate on creating an environment in which students can thrive and be positioned to succeed in their future, while goal three highlights the importance of fiscal responsibility.
“Since 2013 our spending per student has increased at just a fraction of the statewide trend,” said Board President Brian Nichols. “With almost 9 out of 10 of our students meeting or exceeding their academic growth targets, we must commend our wonderful staff and administration on their hard work and redouble our efforts to maintaining the financial health of this organization to continue to fulfill this commitment over the long term.”
Aligned with this commitment to fiscal responsibility, the District 123 Board of Education passed a resolution last month to approve a contract that begins the re-marketing process for the former McGugan Jr. High School property located at 5220 West 105th St.
“Finding a new partner to lease this space continues our ongoing efforts to seek alternative revenue sources and helps position our district to deliver on our promise to manage our resources effectively. We are proud of our school district and look forward to this new opportunity that will help us preserve the outstanding educational programs our community has come to expect, while also maintaining the fiscal stability of the district. These buildings are the community’s assets, and we want to ensure they continue to contribute to the financial health of the entire Oak Lawn-Hometown community.”
In addition to the thriving Oak Lawn Community Garden that is located on the southwest portion of the property, the building has been largely occupied by South Side Baptist School for the past 15 years. Before occupying the McGugan property Southside Baptist had leased space in Gasteyer School, which formerly sat on the property where Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School currently stands.
“We are extremely glad to have had such a great partner in Southwest Baptist for all these years, and we are saddened to see them go,” Superintendent Paul Enderle said. “In addition to the educational opportunities they brought to the community, they have allowed the McGugan property to not sit idle and bring in additional revenue for the district that has indirectly offset our yearly operational costs.”
The District 123 school board entered into an agreement with Arthur J. Rogers & Company Corporate Real Estate Services during the February board meeting. The exclusive marketing agreement began in February 2019 and will remain in effect until August 2019. The property is expected to rent for between $8 square-foot and $12 square-foot and could bring the district an additional $360,000 a year in revenue.
District 123 receives 10 million dollars per year less in state revenue than what Illinois recommends for adequate student education. In light of this significant funding gap, the importance of external revenue opportunities to the performance of students and staff cannot be overstated.
The school district will begin to show the McGugan property as soon as this month to interested parties brought forth by Arthur J. Rogers & Company.