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Streator gets $68K for truancy program

Curriculum tailored to students

Streator High School will receive a three-year grant to fight truancy.

The district will receive $68,000 per year to boost a program to help students finish high school. The program is expected to "hit the ground running" in January, said Assistant Principal Nick McGurk.

The grant allows the district to use a truancy officer/social worker and a teacher to take a more hands-on approach to truancy. A classroom will gear students to credit recovery and design a creative curriculum around personal needs.

"A lot of these kids with chronic truancy, they have so much going on, there's a reason behind it," McGurk said. "It's not 'I just don't want to come to school.' "

The truancy liaison will not only encourage students back to school, but also help them with job and life skills.

The grant is renewable after three years.

Sculptures find homes

Last month, Superintendent Matt Seaton said the school was looking for a spot to put class sculptures, including the inaugural 5-foot-tall, 4,000-pound steel sculpture created by the Class of 2018.

Seaton told board members the newest sculpture will be put on display on a roughly 6-by-6, or 8-by-8-foot concrete pad, in front of the school's main entrance. The pad will be wide enough for people to walk around and view it.

Once a new class sculpture is created, the old ones will then move to the Keen property across Lincoln Avenue, where the latest three sculptures will be displayed.

As more are completed, the remaining sculptures will move to a location off Morrell Street until the classes' 10-year reunion. At that time, the sculptures will be offered back to the class. Board members said there may be some interest in putting sculptures in the trail head park along Broadway and Madison streets, but nothing was confirmed.

Less burden on local taxpayers

The Streator High School district has received more than $1 million in new state money in the past two years. As a result, it has lessened the burden on the local taxpayer by 3.5 percent.

State money makes up 3 percent more of the district's budget and local tax revenue makes up 3.5 percent less.

The district has spent more money, hiring a school resource officer and renovating its tennis courts, for examples.

Seaton said the district figures to have about a $300,000 surplus in 2019, using conservative estimates.

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