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home : local news : local news June 28, 2016

2/20/2013 3:31:00 PM
Hutsonville better off than some, but still looking at budget
Hutsonville Unit 1 announced initial plans to shrink a projected $419,000 budget gap created by the state failing in its budget obligations.

The district is in better shape than most of the local districts, said Superintendent Julie Kraemer. She credited this to difficult decisions made by previous superintendent Roger Eddy.

This doesn't change the gap in the budget. If the projected budgets hold, and the state drops to an expected 80 percent payment of General State Aid next year, the district will go through its savings and end up with $249,000 debt by the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Kraemer said the estimates are based on the district spending every cent budgeted and receiving every dollar planned for.

The proposed cuts to staff and events could save $350,000.

The district can save $84,428 if it makes cuts to certified staff. The band teacher and art teacher's duties would be combined into one, or the band teacher's position would be eliminated.

The other part of these savings would come by reducing the family and consumer sciences program to half-time or 6/8 time.

There is a projected savings of $124,451 to non-certified staff by eliminating six positions. This would mean one custodial position, two summer time custodial positions, the dishwasher position and two teacher's aides.

There is a possible $7,329 savings in extracurricular and sport programs. Sports savings would come from eliminating all assistant coaching positions, tournaments that do not cover their expenses and fresh/soph games that are not on the same nights as other events.

There could also be more revenue by increasing gate fees and starting a fee for each sport.

Chorus would be gone under this plan. The budget for band would be cut and some bands combined.

A pay freeze was also considered.

"(The state) is delinquent on payments owed," said Tina Callaway, board president. She compared it to someone declaring they would only pay $400 on a $500 monthly payment to the bank.

Other changes at the state level gave more tough news to the district.

Changes in the ISAT grading system to come into alignment with PSAE scores will cause a drop in students performing at grade level, Kraemer said.

Students may drop from "meets grade level" to "does not meet grade level" as a result, she said, despite performing at the same level on the test. This could cause the number of students meeting or exceeding grade level from 89 percent to 60 percent in math and 79 percent to 60 percent in reading, she said.

There is a possibility that the board could stave off the expected financial crush for a short time if the district issues bonds.

Tim King of King Financial Services said the school district can refinance one of its bonds and can try to pay off the other early to give more flexibility and save money.

"Rates are historically low and incredibly cheap," he said.

The district could save from $125,000 to $140,000, he said.

The school district can raise up to $1.3 million in bonds if needed, he said, and has used $890,000 of that with the two current bonds.

"You're in a better situation than a large number of school districts in Illinois," he said.

The 2013-14 school calendar was set. There will be a teacher's institute day Aug. 29, followed by students attending on Aug. 30. Winter break starts on Dec. 20 with an early dismissal and ends for teachers Jan. 6, and students Jan. 7. If the school uses all available emergency days the final day of school will be May 30, 2014. There would be a final teacher's institute day on June 2.

In other business:

• The 27th annual invitational fifth and sixth grade basketball tournament starts Thursday and will continue Friday. Based on the weather it may continue to Saturday, said Guy Rumler, grade school principal.

• The grade school will graduate on May 8 and the high school on May 26.

• There will be a sophomore career fair at Lincoln Trail College March 5.

• The post prom will be at Robinson Bowling Center April 20.

• The next meeting, which may see the elimination of positions, is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 18, in the superintendent's office at the high school.





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