Janesville62.8°

Janesville School District trying to lower rental costs

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
July 27, 2009
— The Janesville School District will save about $28,000 in the coming year by moving a charter school and some offices, and more savings could be on the way, Superintendent Karen Schulte said.

The district has been leasing the former Head Start building at the corner of Racine and Main streets for several years. The space, known as the Resource Center, housed offices of several student services workers as well as the CRES Academy.


CRES, which stands for Community Recovery Education and Service, is a charter school for high school students who are returning to school after completing drug and alcohol treatment.


CRES, along with the offices of social worker Verlene Orr and drug/alcohol program coordinator Carrie Kulinski, will move about three-quarters of a mile north to St. John Lutheran Church, 302 N. Parker Drive.


Renting the Resource Center cost around $42,000. The St. John's site will cost about $13,000 a year, Schulte said.


The district will also spend money to upgrade the St. John's space to comply with school safety code. That money will come from a state charter-school grant, Schulte said.


Some other offices will move into school buildings, including that of special-education parent advocate Roberta Sample, Schulte said.


Sample's office will be in Van Buren School, 1515 Lapham St.


Schulte said that's not an ideal place for Sample because the parents she serves are sometimes alienated from the school district and might prefer a non-school location.


But difficult decisions must be made in difficult economic times, Schulte said.


School board member Bill Sodemann has been suggesting for several years that the district reduce its rental costs.


He said he'd prefer that the district use any vacant spaces in its own buildings wherever possible.


"I'd rather have no rent, but it's definitely a step in the right direction," Sodemann said when called for comment.


Schulte said she's also looking at the space the district leases for the Rock River Charter School and the Janesville Academy for International Studies, both at 31 W. Milwaukee St.


The district is committed to one more year of leasing the Milwaukee Street site, Schulte said.


"The space is wonderful. There is no question about that. And the kids at the Rock River Charter School didn't do well in the (traditional) school setting," Schulte said, so the district needs to be creative in how it serves these at-risk students while paying less in rent.



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