High school task force meeting scheduled in Decatur

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Consolidating Decatur's two high schools, MacArthur and Eisenhower has been an on again off again hot topic for the Decatur Public School District.

Tuesday night, school leaders say they will wipe the slate clean and go back to the drawing board and they want you at home to weigh in on the best solution for Decatur students.

Tonight, District 61 leaders will sit down with community members, staff, students and parents to host the first ever high school task force meeting.  By the end of the night, Decatur Public School's Superintendent hopes to have fresh ideas to solve a problem she believes is getting worse as time goes on.

"We have two high schools that were built in 1957, 1958 respectively and to that point they are in need of roof repair, plumbing replacement, electrical work, siding, tuck pointing," said Decatur Public Schools Superintendant, Gloria Davis.

Throw into the mix a school full of teens without air-conditioning and Superintendent Davis says there's a problem.

"No air conditioning and your talking about teenagers," said Davis. "And you're talking about an optimal learning environment. And that's something that we know is just crucial to the education of all of our students."

What's also crucial is staying on the cutting edge which Davis says is a costly mission because the buildings are not wired for 21st century technology. She also says several districts in central Illinois are remodeling or moving into new facilities and Decatur students deserve enhanced learning environments.

"I think it has a huge impact on learning," Davis said. "While both our high schools are doing better academically, we know that environment means a lot. You and I, when we walk into a building, the way we feel about entering that establishment is the way we will approach whatever it is we're going to do there."

Superintendent Davis says it also affects the pride students take in

"In order to reach the high expectations that we have clearly set, it is our responsibility as adults to give them what they deserve," said Davis.

The first high school task force meeting takes place Tuesday night and it's open to the public. If you'd like to attend, the event will be held in Eisenhower's cafeteria beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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