District 201 school board to buy Belleville building for $474K

News-DemocratJuly 15, 2013 

The Belleville School District 201 is moving forward with its purchase of a building to house the district's administrative offices. The school board gave Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer authorization to sign the final contract with G C Leasing Inc., of Belleville, during its meeting Monday night.

The district is purchasing the former headquarters of Dickerson Petroleum Inc., at 920 N. Illinois St. in Belleville, for $474,000. Steven R. Dickerson is president of G C Leasing Inc.

"We think it's a nice location for our district," Superintendent Jeff Dosier said.

The building sale is expected to close within the next 30 to 45 days pending the necessary inspections required by law, Mentzer said.

For the last 10 years, District 201 has been leasing space for its administrative offices at Lindenwood University-Belleville. In 2003, Lindenwood took over the former Belleville West High School, paying $1 in a three-way deal to buy it from District 201 through the city of Belleville.

By purchasing a building rather than leasing space, district officials have estimated a $33,500 cost savings annually.

The district's current contract with Lindenwood ends Sept. 1. Mentzer said he's "hopeful" the district will be able to renovate the building on North Illinois Street and move in prior to the contract ending. If that doesn't happen, he said the district would have to negotiate a month-to-month agreement with Lindenwood.

Mentzer informed board members the district ended fiscal year 2013 in the black in spite of receiving more than $1 million from the state of Illinois on July 9. The district's fiscal year ended June 30.

Overall, he said, the district reduced its expenses by 5 percent last fiscal year. School board member Allen Scharf praised Mentzer's handling of the district's finances this past year. "He did an outstanding job," Scharf said. "I'm really proud of the job the district has done."

Mentzer said the district ended fiscal year 2012 with a balance of $9.7 million, and he expects the fund balance to be "higher than that" for fiscal year 2013. However, the final figure was not available yet.

In other business, the board unanimously approved hiring Danielle Zapp as an English teacher and Alphonso Daniel as an assistant principal at Belleville East High School.

The assistant principal position was formerly held by Josh Lane, who accepted a principal position at Millstadt Consolidated School District 160. Daniel, who previously taught at Westhaven Elementary School in Belleville, will earn a salary of $77,500 annually, according to Dosier. He'll be one of four assistant principals at the high school.

The board also rehired eight full-time equivalent teaching assistants, who were honorably dismissed earlier this year as part of the district's annual reductions in force.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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