August 2002
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August 2002 news

August 4

Carl (Jr.) and Dixie Fewell of LaCrosse Wi will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary Aug. 10 with dinner, family, friends and a trip to the Bahamas in October.

Jr. is formerly of Minonk and has been retired from FoxMyer Wholesale Drug Co.

Dixie is retired from the LaCrosse School District.

They have three children: Dixie Schmidt, Aaron Fewell of LaCrosse, Carolyn Fewell of Chippewa Falls, Wi. Three grandchildren Anthony, Adam Schmidt, Anna Fewell all of LaCrosse.

August 11

The Westside Park Pavilion committee met Thursday night (August 8) to review blueprints prepared by architect Chuck Fischer of Peoria. The committee made some changes to the specs prepared by Fischer for the 40 X 60 structure.

The committee will meet with Fischer next Thursday (August 15) at St. Paul's Church to finalize and approve the changes made to the specs. After that the committee plans to take the blueprints to the Minonk City Council on August 19 for their inspection and approval. Upon approval by the council, the specs for the pavilion will advertised for bids.

The fund drive to build the pavilion is still $5,000 short of its goal. However, architect Fischer said that the amount of donors(100) and the amount of money($29,000) accumulated so far from a community of this size is terrific.

The goal of the committee is to start construction in the fall.

August 18

A report from Superintendent Michael Stagliano.

District 6's FY (fiscal year) 2002-2003 budget will be another deficit budget. In the past several years, the District has been operating on a deficit budget. Until the past two years or so, fund balances (especially the Education Fund) were able to cover revenue shortfalls by calling upon reserves. This is not the case with the coming school year. The tragedy of 9-11 coupled with shortfalls in State and local funding has forced the District to consider staff reductions in force (RIF) and a scale back in some educational programs.

During the past fiscal year (FY 2001-2002) the Board of Education passed a levy of 11.8% in anticipation of expected revenue shortfalls. Unfortunately, declining land valuations barely eclipsed revenues from local sources one-year prior. The State of Illinois fiscal troubles compounded the already deteriorating revenue stream. Interest on District 6 investments declined as much as 75% in most instances. During the past fiscal year the District was earning a paltry 1.9% on investments. Prior years interest totals were in the 4.5 - 5.5% range. Also, special education students educated outside of District 6 are only funded less than 20% of actual costs, requiring District 6 to pay the remaining 80% tuition cost.

The Education Fund is the District's largest operating fund. This fiscal year total direct receipts and revenues from State, Federal, and Local sources will bring in approximately $6,546,153 dollars. However total direct disbursements and expenditures will total about $7,175,746. The math is simple; expenditures will exceed revenues by $629,593 in the Education Fund alone. Taking into account all funds, expenses will exceed revenues by $1,251,728. Fund balances will only partially cover this shortfall. Programming expenses have been steadily rising while revenues have been either holding steady or declining.

On the other hand, the Building Fund, District 6's second largest operating fund, will realize an approximate deficit of about $162,391 at the end of this fiscal year. This deficit is largely predicated upon similar circumstances facing the Education Fund; declining revenues and escalating expenses. One major expense that is factored into the Building Fund budget this fiscal year is the mandate by the State of Illinois to construct an elevator at Elementary - Middle East in Wenona. The elevator will allow handicapped accessibility to all levels of the former high school for severely handicapped students. This is a $245,000 project partially funded by a $50,000 School Renovation Grant. The State of Illinois mandates similar improvements to comply with the Americans with Disability Act, but does not fund public school districts that must comply with the spirit of the law.

All other District operating funds will show a positive balance at the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 2003. During the coming months, Board members, Administrators and representatives of the FEA (Fieldcrest Education Association) will be meeting to discuss ways of implementing cost-saving measures to minimize the impact of declining revenues and rising expenses on educational programs and services.

District 6 is not an isolated instance of Budget woes. Nine school districts in the Marshall-Putnam-Woodford region including District 6 will experience a total General State Aid shortfall of $4,243,963 this Fiscal Year. Once again, most State Aid revenues are deposited into the Education Fund to pay for salaries and programs.

The Board approved this tentative budget. At the September 19, 2002 meeting of the Board of Education, there will be a Budget Hearing scheduled for 6:45 PM at Elementary - Middle School West in Toluca, Illinois. The Regular Board meeting will follow the Budget Hearing.

In other action by the Board, the Board awarded the proposed elevator construction contract for East Elementary - Middle School to Leander Construction, Inc. of Canton, Illinois. The total project with alternates and contingency fees will be $245,000.

Also, the Board approved the amended FY 2002-2003 school district Calendar. School will officially begin on September 3, 2002. The new start date was prompted by the estimated completion date of the Elementary South addition in Minonk, Illinois. Contractors needed extra time to button up the project, clean and also to test mechanical and security systems including the fire alarm and sprinkler systems. The new addition is approximately 13,000 square feet and includes five additional classrooms, nurse's station, library, offices, art and music classrooms, and an expanded full service cafeteria and storage space.

The Board also voted to reinstate an additional section of 1st grade at Elementary South in Minonk. That position was previously eliminated during the reduction in force action by the Board of Education. An increase in enrollment in the 1st grade prompted the Board to fund this position.

In addition, an elementary music position vacancy created by a resignation earlier this month will be a subject of bargaining between the Board of Education and the Fieldcrest Education Association.

Last, the Board of Education is in the process of assembling the details and supporting information to sell the former Elementary West property located on Willow Street in Toluca. As soon as the details, including lot configuration and fair market price are established, the Fieldcrest District attorney advertising the details of the sale of the property will draft a Resolution.

August 25

Two new stores have been opened for business in downtown Minonk. Just Stuff, an antique mall located in the former Brackney Pharmacy building, opened for business on August 15. The same building will also house the the offices of V. P. Circle of Quality which is a nursing home consulting firm. Plans are to expand the antique mall into the former Kent Lumber building immediately to the north of the Brackney building.

Dollar General had its grand opening on August 24 with Mayor Spencer on hand to cut the ribbon. The store will be opened 9 - 8 everyday except Sunday will it will be open from 9 -6.


The Westside Park Pavilion Committee approved the blueprint plans for the proposed pavilion at a meeting Thursday night at St. Paul's Church with architect Chuck Fischer.

In addition, the committee staked out the intended site for the structure in the park with City Administrator Trent Smith to make sure that no water lines would be covered. The proposed site for the pavilion is situated in the northeast corner of the park running parallel with the sidewalk so that it will face the southwest. This will give users of the pavilion a relatively full view of the park and also will allow more room for an audience outside the pavilion to watch plays or concerts.

The committee along with architect Fischer will attend the next city council meeting on September 3 to present the plans to the council and also to seek their approval. Upon approval, the project will be let out for bids in hopes that the pavilion construction can be completed sometime this fall.

The fund drive to raise $34,000 toward the construction of the pavilion is almost met with over $33,000 in donations received so far.

To view the floorplan and elevations for the pavilion, click here.


The Fieldcrest school district starts classes on Tuesday September 3. The delay in the opening of classes was to allow time to complete the construction of the new addition at Elementary South in Minonk. The 13,000 square foot addition includes 5 additional classrooms, nurse's station, library, offices, art and music rooms and a full service cafeteria. The new facilty also includes an elevator.

The new school addition still has some unfinished work. The glass windows for the front door still has not been installed but the classrooms are ready for use.


Fieldcrest surprised sixth ranked Lexington 22-18 Friday night in a game played at Minonk. Quarterback Shaun Manning passed for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Patrick Patterson caught one TD pass and Jordan Castrejon caught two of Manning's passes for a touchdown. Castrejon also was the leading rusher with 40 yards.
Uftring Automotive moved from their location at Fourth and Chestnut Streets to a new facility at the I-39 intersection in the Caroline Addition northwest of the city. The sales and service hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Sales hours will also be on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

The new facility includes a 5 bay service area and a large office and sales area. Uftring's Body Shop will remain at 335 Chestnut until all construction is completed. A grand opening is planned after completion.



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