By Bob Skolnik
It looks as if the house next to Ames School in Riverside will be demolished relatively soon.
On Jan. 17, the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education voted 6-0 to demolish the home at 92 Repton Road, which the district purchased in 2016. The house has been vacant for about two years and has been used for occasional training by the Riverside Fire Department.
District 96 is now seeking bids to demolish the house, but before the home comes down the district will have to get a demolition permit from the village of Riverside.
The school board had planned to demolish the home last year but delayed it, thinking the district could save money by demolishing it in conjunction with some kind of improvement project at Ames School, an addition to the building or a new playground, for example.
But the district doesn't expect to do any improvements until the summer of the 2019, so the school board decided that it would be best to take the house down and create more green space.
"It's been sitting there a long time," said board member Shari Klyber.
At its Feb. 7 committee of the whole meeting, the school board will receive a report from its facilities advisory committee on priorities for upgrading district facilities.
Ames School is perhaps the most crowded school in the district. This year, a multipurpose room at Ames was divided in two to create more classroom space.
After making every family in the district submit proof of residency, in person, in order to register their children last year, only families of kindergarteners, third-graders, sixth-graders and families new to the district will have to submit that proof in person for the 2018-19 school year.
Other families will be able to provide proof of residency online, by uploading documents such as tax bills, utility bills, leases and mortgage documents. The district moved to online registration in 2016.
Prior to 2016, registration and proof of residency was mostly handled at the individual schools in the district, but Superintendent Martha Ryan-Toye has centralized the process at the district office.
Ryan-Toye said that she didn't feel that in-person proof of residency was needed every year.
"I think we've improved [our registration process] in the recent past, and I think there's a way to kind of create something that feels kind of predictable, something that feels very functional and effective," Ryan-Toye said.
Ryan-Toye said that many parents will appreciate not having to make a special trip to the district office this year.
"I think it was a time demand on families that wasn't entirely appreciated," Ryan-Toye said. "It's a busy time of year, so I think that if we feel we have an effective process without having families coming in every summer that feels appropriate."
The school board is expected to approve the new proof-of-residency procedures in February.