The Fieldcrest Citizens Advisory Committee held its first meeting Thursday night in
the Fieldcrest Libary room. Fieldcrest faculty member Garilyn Wells asked what
the committee's function is to be since the Fieldcrest Board of Education has already
decided not to fund extracurriculars. Board member Pat Schmillen told the committee that
they should provide suggestions to the Board on what extracurriculars are to be kept and how
they might be funded.
Fieldcrest Superintendent Dr. Michael Stagliano told the committee that they should provide
their recommendations in writing. Staglanio also said the committee should elect officers
at its next meeting and establish parliamentary protocol for its meetings similar to that
of the school board.
Schmillen reminded the board that it is necessary to determine which fall sports are to be
kept or dropped by January in order to notify the athletic conferences. Dr. Stagliano provided
the committee with a breakdown of the cost of each extracurricular activity. Committtee member
Tim Sanders of Minonk said that the committee will need a record of revenue generated by each
activity in order to determine the net cost. Dr. Staglanio said that gate receipts and associated
fees will be provided at the next meeting.
Stagliano told the committee that the decrease in farmland value for taxation has declined the
past few years and will not pick up again for at least two more years. School board president
Jeff Pickard said that the school got caught in the financial squeeze that has affected everyone
since September 11, 2001. Pickard said prior to that the school had over $1,000,000 in reserves
that was drawing 6% interest which helped to support extracurricular activities. Since then the decline in
interest rates and interest income has drained the reserves because now interest rates
are down close to 1%.
Schmillen said that she feels that parents and friends of students involved in various extracurriculars
will raise the necessary funds to support the activity. She felt that a year from now over 90% of the
extracurriculars will be funded by support groups. However, committee members John Lauf of Wenona and
Ronald "Corky" Marshall of Minonk both felt that public funding will be good for only a limited amount
of time. Lauf said that eventually we will need either to raise fees or taxes in order to keep
Committee member Craig Meyer of Minonk reminded everyone that sports in not the only extracurricular
being cut. He said that dropping the National Honor Society and other extracurriculars will make it
harder for Fieldcrest graduates to get into the better universities.
Committee member Russ Martin of Wenona said that we have to do something to save our communities. He
said that dropping extracurriculars will cause people to live elsewhere and the Fieldcrest communities
will eventually die. Board president Pickard said that people have already been calling him asking where
they can donate money for extracurriculars. He suggested that the committee contact the local banks to
set up an extracurricular fund where banking customers can donate.
The committee assigned individuals to contact other schools on how they handled their funding problems. Blue Ridge,
Chenoa, St. Mary's in Pontiac, St. Stephens in Streator, and Trinity in Bloomington will be contacted and
reports prepared for the next meeting. The next meeting of the advisory committee will be October 16 and 23
at the Fieldcrest Library room where feedback from other schools will be discussed and officers will be elected.