The Oblong Unit 4 Board of Education continues to take steps to plug the holes left by the state's shortfall in education funding.
The board had a bond hearing as part of last night's meeting to gather input from the public on the proposal to sell $825,000 in funding bonds to make up for money the state has promised to the district but is unlikely to pay. Oblong Superintendent Jeff Patchett said he expects the state to come up as much as 80 percent short on its promises to school districts across Illinois.
"It's hard for me to put into words how devastating this will be for schools all over the state if this happens," Patchett told the Daily News. "And this isn't about weaker school districts getting into trouble. This is affecting school districts across the board."
Patchett said that of the payments already vouchered to the district this year, he is hoping Unit 4 might receive half of the funds. And things will likely be even worse next year.
"Our district has been working on plans to keep from cutting employees and programs," Patchett said. "We've asked the sports boosters for help and they've pledged, we've asked the academic foundation for help and they've pledge and we've asked the band boosters for help and they have pledged. The big question they have is how long will we need to help and that's just too hard to say."
The board will be voting on whether or not to issue the bonds during next month's meeting.
In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignation of Ruth Beckes as high-school personal aide and approved hiring Robert Yaley as junior-high track coach and Brittany Miller as a high-school softball volunteer assistant coach.
The board approved opening closed session minutes from July 2012 through December 2012 and approved employing David Weger, CPA, as the auditor for the 2013-14 school year.
The board also approved the Class of 2013 trip request and a request by high school students to attend the University of Illinois Engineering Day.
The next regular school board meeting will be Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. in the elementary school library.