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Fieldcrest to minimize cuts in extracurriculars

Friday, April 25, 2003 Posted 10:00 p.m.
The Fieldcrest Board of Education issued a statement at its monthly meeting last Tuesday night that indicated that it did not intend to eliminate extracurricilar activities in the school program. Board vice-president Pat Schmillen said that the board may trim some of the activities but will not eliminate them. She indicated that the board felt that extracurriculars are important for an all around education.

Schmillen said that the extracurriculars cost the district around $170,000 each year. This means that the school may deficit spend by $150,000 next year. She indicated that education fund cuts or community fundraising may be needed to offset the deficit.

Superintendent Michael Stagliano said that the new state plan under Governor Blagojevich's budget will increase the foundation plan by $250 per student that would increase the budget by $342,000. However, cuts in the number of grants total $125,000 which means that Fieldcrest will receive a net increase of $217,000 from the governor's plan.

Objections were raised at the meeting by some of the attendants. Jeff Geringer was against the elimination of district admininstrators citing the need for a full time administrator at each school to allow teachers more time for teaching.

Gene Oncken asked the board members if they are going to do anything about the Wenona TIF district that is costing the school district $187,000 a year. Oncken said that instead of looking into cutting programs, why doesn't the board look into ways of avoiding a potential loss of $2,500,000 in tax revenue due to Wenona's TIF district over the next 14 years. Oncken said other members of the community are being cheated out of tax dollars by Wenona's TIF district that includes the whole town of Wenona.

Below is a summary of the school board minutes as provide by the Fieldcrest Administrative Staff.

Update on Governor's Education Budget

Governor Rod Blagojevich's proposed FY '04 Budget is a mixed bag of sorts. It is a given that the deficit will be as high as $5 billion. On the positive side, the proposal increases the foundation level by $250 to $4,810 per student. Also, mandated categorical grant programs will be at the same level as currently, which is 91%. These programs are regular and special transportation and special education personnel reimbursement. Unfortunately, a large part of the increase to the education portion of the state budget will come from redistribution from other education budget line items. The bad news is that most all of the non-mandated categorical grant programs will be eliminated and those funds will be directed towards general state aid. This is presumably to give more flexibility to local school districts. Furthermore, funding for Regional Offices of Education has been eliminated. Last, the governor has recommended that the number of school accounting funds be reduced to four funds from the current number. The one very good piece of news, if one can find any in this dire landscape, is that all school districts in the state will receive the 23rd and 24th state aid payments. Now, the negotiating process begins between the House and the Senate.

Impact of Governor's FY '04 budget on Fieldcrest District 6

The foundation level increase is "good" news for District 6, but not great news. On the surface, District 6 stands to gain $342,000 by increasing the foundation level $250 per student. The formula to achieve this takes into account average daily attendance (ADA) and local property wealth. It is not as simple as multiplying $250 times the number of students in District 6. Here is the downside to the upside. The following categorical grant programs have been eliminated. School Safety and Educational Improvement Block Grant, Gifted Education Reimbursement, Textbook Loan Program, Reading Improvement, Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention and Career Awareness and Development. There are other grant programs that have been eliminated, but the above affect Fieldcrest in the amount of $125,000. There is a net gain for the District ($217,000), but far less than would have been realized if the grant programs had remained intact. In reality, we cannot count on a single penny until the legislative session is over in July.

Commencement Activities Dates and Times

May 31, 2003 1:00 Middle East Graduation
May 31, 2003 4:00 Middle West Graduation
June 01, 2003 3:00 High School Graduation

New Business

Update and Overview of Extra Curricular Programs

At the last regular Board meeting in March the Board went on record stating "It is the Board's intention if the referendum fails, to cut all extracurricular programs, to examine administration assignments and to implement any other necessary cost-saving measures to balance the budget for the 2003-2004 school year." The Board and the administration have come up with a figure which they believe is affordable and reasonable to enable funding outside of District 6 to continue providing extracurricular programs for our District's youth. That figure is $100,000. The Board of Education has made it abundantly clear that it is their intention to see that ALL extracurricular programs are funded to the exclusion of none providing that sufficient external funding can be found.

Resolution Authorizing the Establishment of a Line of Credit and a Certification of the Secretary

In order to cover the expectations of insufficient funds to cover the expenses this fiscal year and part of the coming fiscal year, the Board of Education has authorized the superintendent to secure a line of credit with a community bank. The Alpha Community Bank of Toluca, Illinois will extend a line of credit to Fieldcrest District 6 at a rate not to exceed 3.75% per year. This line of credit shall authorize the Board of Education to borrow an amount not to exceed the sum of $650,000 for educational purposes and an amount not to exceed $350,000 for operations and maintenance purposes. This amount does not exceed the 85% of the amount of property taxes most recently levied for educational and operations and maintenance purposes.

Approval of 2003-2004 District Calendar

The proposed calendar has been approved by the administration and has been shared with the Fieldcrest Education Association prior to the last Board meeting. The proposed calendar establishes the first day of school as August 21st 2003. The last official day of school will be June 4th, 2004. There are no waived holidays this next school year. All legal public school holidays will be observed.

Executive Session

Purpose: Action upon reductions in force and action upon dismissal or non-renewal of employees.

Resolution Reference the Dismissal of the following Educational Support Personnel in the areas of Transportation (bus driving):

Tom Heidenreich
Betty Brooke - alternative school bus routes
Betty Brooke - ECE bus routes
Joy Hakes
Carol Hood
Max Hood
Chuck Volker
Lori Wallick
Carol Volker
Dotti Derry
Tom Derry
Mark McNamara
Debbie Henderson
Julie Schmidt

Also, the Board has honorably dismissed, Rose Lutz, secretary @ Fieldcrest East in Wenona