The Oblong Unit 4 Board of Education gave finial approval to the 2017-18 school budget when it met Thursday.
The budget envisions an ending balance on June 30, 2018 of $2,196,968. The district begins the year with a balance of $1,879,626 and expects to see total revenues of $6,219,617 and total expenditures of $5,902,275.
Oblong schools will spend $4,071,214 in the Education Fund, $349,465 in the Building Fund, $527,560 in Bond and Interest, $479,601 in Transportation, $173, 252 in IMRF, $6,000 in working cash, $269,700 in tort and $25,483 in life safety.
The board also approved insurance bids from Wright Specialty and ONI Risk Partners for the commercial package, commercial automobile and umbrella coverage and Ramza Insurance Group for worker's compensation.
In personnel matters, Unit 4 Superintendent Jeff Patchett recognized new district employees Sherri Shew, Dawn Kraus, Kelly Radke, Sadie Gassmann, Nicole Sholders, Tiffany Grove and Stephanie McGuire.
The board hired Sarah Reinbold as Special Ed Classroom Aide and approved Kurt Knollenberg as volunteer assistant high school boys basketball coach and Kaleb Wartsbaugh as volunteer assistant junior high girls basketball coach.
The board accepted Ian Laughlin's resignation as high-school boys' baseball coach.
Patchett briefed the board about ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) which is replacing the Bush era No Child Left Behind Act. The new law builds on key areas of progress made by NCLB. ESSA leaves more control to the states and districts in determining the standards students are held to.
It will be a four-year school improvement plan with the goal of using available data, such as the results of standardized testing, to identify areas for school improvement.
"I'm sure this will not be perfect, just as No Child Left Behind wasn't perfect," Patchett said. "But, I'm going into this with a positive attitude."
Patchett also brought the board up-to-date on school funding changes in Illinois. The new measure increases funding for school districts and distributes the money in a way lawmakers say is more equitable.
Patchett said the new law identifies districts that have fallen behind in funding and over time schools that have smaller equity will gain ground.
"I can't say for certain Unit 4 will see more funding, state school funding is always uncertain," Patchett said. "The challenge of this will be deciding what to build towards to get to the ideal model. Do we spend most of our area in just one area to make improvements there quickly or do we spread it out to make gradual improvements all around."
The board also approved:
Early graduation for two students.
FFA officers' request to attend the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis on Oct. 25-28.
The next regular meeting of the Unit 4 Board of Education will be Monday, Oct 16t at 7 p.m. in the Oblong Elementary School Oblong Room.