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Fieldcrest Superintendent-s Report

Monday, July 21, 2003 Posted 9:30 p.m.

-         Update on Status of State of Illinois Educational Funding and Impact on District 6

As of this writing District 6 has received the final two (2) state aid payments for the current fiscal year totaling $185,000.- There are still no final figures for General State Aid and the ADA Safety Block Grant.- Transportation will reflect an increase of about $50,000 more in special education revenues do to funding at the 100% level.- Corporate Personal Property Replacement Taxes are due in about one more week.- We have received the first installment of $39,000 but the department of revenue will not be able to give a yearly estimate until later this month.- Monthly payments to school districts vary depending on revenues received by the state department of revenue.


Discussion of Preliminary FY -04 Budget

The preliminary FY -04 Budget will be placed on display for thirty (30) days prior to approval following a public hearing at the August Board meeting.- The copy before you is final only for expenditures;- some revenues are pending the Governor-s pen.- Corporate Personal Property Taxes and General State Aid are estimates only.- FY -03 figures will be used until final figures are known.- Hopefully, this will occur by the end of July.- Nevertheless, the FY -04 Budget is not a balanced budget.- Expenditures (Education Fund) are expected to exceed revenues by approximately ($265,000).- District 6 ended the FY -03 fiscal year June 30, 2003 with a fund balance of $300,000.- However, debt service from tax anticipation warrants (TAWs) is $650,000.- In essence, District 6 will end the FY -04 fiscal year with a negative Education Fund balance of about $615,000.- What this means is that the Board will have to shed at least another $500,000 in expenditures this coming spring -04. It is no surprise that the Education Fund is in serious financial trouble.- District 6 is already on the early financial watch list.- The Board and administration will be studying several options in the coming months to regain solvency for the District.- Some of those options include studying District attendance centers.- Superintendent, Dr. Michael Stagliano cautioned the Board that they must get past emotions on the way business was conducted in the past and make changes that in many cases would not be popular to many people.- It is either bend to community pressure and not address unpopular solutions to regain fiscal stability or lose the District to state control.


The Building Fund will also have to be monitored closely.- For several years our building fund revenues have not kept pace with expenditures due to rising utility costs, unfunded mandates and declining EAV. Preliminary estimates show that expenses will exceed revenues this fiscal year by $552,000.- This figure includes the $275,000 we borrowed in TAWs to cover expenses prior to June 30, 2003. This figure could be higher if the District incurs major building problems. Some moneys will be available from Life Safety, which has restricted uses. If one can anticipate any major building problems it would have to be the high school-s roof which has not been seriously cared for in 16 years and which has received only small repairs for the past two years.- Last, the Transportation Fund will be well into the black by June 30, 2004.- Steven Wallick and Tom Heidenreich discussed revising bus routes in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness.


The options that the administration has outlined in previous mailings must be discussed upon approval of this current budget.- District 6 has sufficient bonding capacity to borrow, to relieve debt and continue long-term operations, but solvency will only be accomplished by further cost cutting which translates into personnel and program reductions.- I am proposing a finance committee meeting as soon as the budget is adopted to discuss several options including another shot at an Education Fund tax increase next spring.- Also, I would like to invite a financial consultant (no charge) from ISBE to attend this meeting of the finance committee.


-         Midstate Conference Superintendents- Meeting Overview Update

The Minutes of the Midstate Conference Superintendent-s meeting have been shared with the athletic directors and building principals.- Comments and suggestions are to be forwarded to Jim Miller, Superintendent of El Paso Unit District 375.


-         Fieldcrest Board of Education Policy Revisions Update

The final revisions to the policy update process will conclude on August 8th when I meet with IASB consultant, Sharon Studinger Kennedy.- The last phase will entail a series of rewrites on the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) prior to turning the complete revised policies over to the full Board for comments and suggestions.- The meeting on August 8th will be primarily for administration, since they are the primary stakeholders in the process.


Update of Open Meeting Act and New Legislation Governing Executive Session.- The House of Representatives and Senate approved the bill two weeks ago that would require school boards to tape record closed session meetings.- The new legislation will become law if the governor signs the bill.- The bill requires a public body to keep the verbatim record for at least 18 months and states that the record is closed to the public and shall not be open for public inspection. If civil action is brought regarding an alleged violation of the Open Meetings Act, the court may conduct an -in camera- examination of the verbatim record to see if the Act was violated


-         Update on Water and Sewer Fees for District 6 Communities

At the June Board meeting it was revealed that yearly water fees for the District 6-s Minonk building sites totaled approximately $15,000.- However, combined yearly totals for building sites in Toluca and Wenona were only $5,000.- An analysis of the utility bills reveal that Minonk-s cost per 100 cubic feet of water is significantly higher than the other two towns despite all three (3) communities employing reverse osmosis water treatment, which is normally an expensive process.- A conversation with Minonk City officials states that high costs for Minonk-s water and sewer is compounded by the inclusion of salaries for water and sewer employees.- The City of Wenona apparently has artificially low rates, which could indicate a form of subsidization.- The City of Toluca did not have a sewage treatment plant until recently, while Minonk has had one for sometime now.- Wenona and Toluca used drainage lagoons for wastewater removal.- The bottom line is that infrastructure improvements in Minonk are contributing to the high cost of water and sewer rates.- No one building site is using abnormally high rates of water usage.- Fieldcrest High School has the greatest building site population and is reflected in the higher rates of water consumption.- Sewer rates in Minonk also mirror closely water rates, which is not true in the communities of Toluca and Wenona.


New Business


-         Authorize Acceptance of Bids for Fuel, Disposal, Bread and Milk Services for 2003-2004.- Bids are still outstanding as of this writing.- At the Board meeting a rank order list of bids will be shared with the Board. Board accepted the following bids for services: Evergreen FS bid for fuel services, Interstate Brands for bread products, Schroeder Distributors for milk services and LaRose Disposal for waste services.


-         Officially Set Board Meeting Dates for 2003-2004

It is customary to set Board meeting dates at the start of the new fiscal year.- If the Board desires to change the times and dates of Board meetings then a motion will be needed.- Regular meeting dates will remain the same:- Third Thursday of the month.- However, the Board officially approved a second Special Meeting on the first Thursday of every month.- The Special Meetings will be held in the Unit Office @ one Dornbush Drive in Minonk @ 7:00 PM.


Announcements and Communications


Next Regular Board Meeting---- August 21, Fieldcrest Elementary-Middle East, Wenona

Next Special Board Meeting----- August 7, Fieldcrest District Offices, Minonk, 7:00 PM

Fieldcrest Registration-- ---------- August 11, Monday, 12:00 Noon until 8:00 PM

Fieldcrest Registration-------------- August 12, Tuesday, 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM

First Student Attendance Day -- August 25, Monday,- 8:15 AM until 11:00 AM----