Click to view:  Letter from Dr. Andriano

Unit 9 Grant Update 

February 2022 

As many of you know, our Board has attempted to secure a federal, FEMA grant, known as the Building Resiliency in Communities (BRIC) grant, to reduce the financial burden on local taxpayers to build a single Unit 9 campus. This was the main focus for our referendum. 

Our initial application in December of 2020 was denied by FEMA. After hiring Gilbane Building Company to help us in the re-application process, the company discovered the major reason we were denied in our previous application was because of the grant application point system for awarding recipients. Illinois and other FEMA5 region states are considered Home Rule States, meaning local municipalities have the power to exercise their own building code guidelines instead of a State mandated building code system. Applicants without a State mandated building code lose a significant number of points. IEMA confirmed this was the reason our application was denied. 

We had several meetings with IEMA staff to seek advice for re-submitting our application. Gilbane compiled the suggestions and gathered the information for our second application. We submitted that application in December 2021. Unit 9 received notification that our application had been denied again but by IEMA this time. 

Seeking clarification after all the work dedicated to resubmission, Unit 9 representatives, State Representative Tom Bennett and staff organized another meeting with IEMA Representatives. During this discussion, IEMA reported they denied Unit 9’s application and will not submit it to the FEMA level. The reason for denial was because our project included new construction. Per IEMA, the FEMA guidelines for the BRIC grant does not allow for new construction. We were shocked at this as new construction was the primary goal since the very 

beginning. Originally, IEMA had encouraged the district to apply for the grant in 2020 and had already submitted an application that included new construction. 

The question now is what direction do we take from here. The Board’s goal is still the same, but the road has now changed. We will begin by reconvening the Stakeholders Committee to discuss the options we have at our disposal. The Board does not plan to bond any of the funds approved by the taxpayers for the building referendum until matching funds are available. 

The closing of Nettie Davis, even before the referendum, was a goal for the safety and educational ramifications associated with flood concerns. We have taken that step. Now, we will regroup and devise an action plan for bringing us closer to the end goal. Producing efficient facilities that provide the best possible educational opportunities for our students while giving our community a beacon for the future remains at the forefront of our decision making process. We will continue to communicate with our political representatives on this matter while working towards our one campus vision.