Greenhouse, gardening proposals up in air in Grayslake District 46
Grayslake Elementary District 46 officials agree they need to decide where to go with proposals for a greenhouse and expansion of a gardening program to all schools.
District 46 board President Steven Strack said one problem so far has been a lack of information on an idea first pitched to the elected officials in February for Grow Well Farms to build a roughly 400-square-foot greenhouse at Grayslake Middle School and rent the taxpayer-owned land for $1 annually.
In exchange for use of the school land, the greenhouse would be available for student learning, with the district getting a cut of revenue from Grow Well's vegetable and herb sales.
Strack said the greenhouse business plan that board members want has yet to arrive.
"They have to give us information," Strack said at a District 46 meeting last week. "There's no way around that."
Grow Well Farms co-owner Cheryl Besenjak could not be reached for comment Monday.
In an effort to reach a decision, board members Tom Meskel and Kathleen Parkinson have agreed to be part of an advisory committee with the greenhouse and gardening proponents. Strack said Parkinson and Meskel would report detailed information they receive to the full board.
Grayslake resident Mary Klees went before board members in March and February with the concepts for the greenhouse and districtwide expansion of the gardening program at Woodview School in Grayslake. Woodview serves kindergarten through fourth grade.
However, District 46 Superintendent Ellen Correll said there isn't support for gardening at all schools, based on a poll of principals. She said three of the seven building leaders are in favor.
"The other ones still have questions, and a couple are not interested at all," Correll said, adding the positions could change depending on the school board's direction on the issue.
Correll said grants possibly could help fund the gardening and greenhouse proposals, but board member Jill Alfrejd said caution must be exercised if such money were pursued. Alfrejd said there should be a vision, mission and goal when seeking grants.
"You know where the program is going and you finance what you're trying to do," Alfrejd said, "as opposed to looking at grants and saying, 'How can we use this money and where can I put it?'"