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WHAT WE KNOW: The Mercer County School Board last year said it wanted Illinois, which has banned guns in school zones except for in very limited circumstances, to allow individual school districts to decide whether school staffers could carry concealed weapons to provide protection in case of a school shooting.

WHAT'S NEW: Wednesday night, the school board again approved a resolution that would allow school districts to be able to vote on a concealed-carry firearm measure.

This is the second year the measure will be brought before the Illinois Association of School Boards resolution committee during the 2019 delegate assembly, according to Julie Wagner, board president. Last year it missed being adopted by less than 30 votes.

This year’s resolution points to the fact that school districts in rural areas often do not have law enforcement offices nearby, thus delaying a response in the case of an emergency.

The resolution would not require all school districts to allow employees to be armed, but rather would allow school boards to decide whether or not to make that an option.

Voting in favor of the resolution were Wagner, Jake Frieden, Tyson Dillavou, Mike Bowns and Don Yates. Board member Tab Balmer Jr. voted against it. Bill Smock was absent from the meeting.

In other business, the board:

  • Swore in Mike Bowns, Aledo, as a new board member. He was one of three people interviewed to fill an open spot on the board. Bowns is the administrator at Genesis Senior Living in Aledo.
  • Approved a summer project at the high school to improve drainage and sidewalks. The board approved the low bid of $142,750 from Valley Construction, Rock Island.
  • Approved several new hires and resignations.

WHAT'S NEXT: Meal prices will rise for the 2019-2020 school year in Mercer County schools, the board decided. Next year’s breakfast prices will go from $1.40 to $1.50 a meal at all schools. Lunch prices will go from $2.25 to $2.35 for kindergarten through eighth grade and from $2.50 to $2.60 the high school. Milk prices will remain the same.

— CATHY DECKER / edecker@mchsi.com

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