Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Dan Oakley gave the Fieldcrest Board of Education a somber scenario on the school's looming budget crisis. Dr. Oakley said if the State of Illinois includes a property tax freeze as part of a proposed budget, the school would stand to lose over $2,700,000 in property tax revenue over the next 4 years. Some of this loss would be attributed to the fact that the increase in tax revenue from the cessation of the Wenona TIF district would be frozen also. The increase in the EAV from the cessation of the Wenona TIF district would be $6,000,000 which would add over $150,000 a year to the school's property tax revenue.
Another possible change to the State's budget is a new funding formula for the State's funding of schools which would bring in an additional $357,000 a year in General State Aid (GSA). If the funding formula is adopted the school district would still lose $1,500,000 over the next 4 years after deducting the loss in property tax revenue.
Dr, Oakley said if the State does not come up with a budget, the school would stand to lose $2,000,000 in GSA for 2017-2018. He said this scenario would put a stop to all non-required spending as of August 1. This would require the school to borrow money in order to keep the school open since it is impossible to cut staffing under contract. Dr. Oakley said that since staffing cannot be cut, school will be held next year since it would be unwise to pay teachers without having them teach.
Dr. Oakley said that as the state funding of education continues to decline, the school board will have to make some tough decisions. He said if and when the school runs out of money, the board must decide if it is going to close the schools, borrow more money to keep going, or cut costs by eliminating programs and sports.
In the regular agenda the board accepted the resignation of Kim McGuane, hired a summer paint crew to paint the rooms in the school's buildings, transferred $200,000 from working cash to the education fund, passed the Prevailing Wage Ordinance, raised lunch fees from $2.50 to $2.60, purchased a Ford van from Roanoke Ford for $27,000 and put out closed bids for the old van which had 220,000 miles on it. Dr. Oakley mentioned that a special education teacher is still needed for the next school year.
The board discussed allowing school functions to take place on Sunday. Board member Tim McNamara was adamant in opposing Sunday functions saying Sundays should be kept open for the family. The board agreed and decided not to allow school functions to take place on Sunday.
Dr. Oakley gave a presentation on the graduation statistics of Fieldcrest High School. The statistics showed that 20-25% of graduates go on to a 4 year college, 22-33% go immediately into the workforce, 42-58% go into the military or a 2 year vocational training school. The study also showed that due to the increase in the number of service sector jobs, projections are that only 30% of jobs will require a 4 year college degree in the next 10 years. Dr, Oakley indicated that more emphasis must be given to training those who are not planning on going to a 4 year college.