The Oblong Unit 4 Board of Education gave tentative approval to the 2020-21 tax levy and approved a waiver that would allow non-resident students of full-time employees to attend school in the district without paying extra tuition.
The board set a hearing date of Dec. 16 at 5:50 p.m. The levy is based on an EAV of over $55 million, which is up from last year. "I hate to promise that people's taxes will go down because I can't control what other taxing bodies will do, but if the EAV is accurate, the school portion of your tax bill should be lower," Unit 4 Superintendent Jeff Patchett said.
He added that the funds under the control of the district will remain about the same. The levy also includes a $526,000 bond payment this year. Patchett said next year's levy will include a $266,000 which will pay off the debt from the 2003 grade school addition.
Also at the meeting, the board approved applying for a waiver from the Illinois State Board of Education to allow non-resident students of full-time district employees to attend Unit 4 schools without paying extra tuition. Patchett said the idea would be to entice teachers who for whatever reason would choose not to live in the school district to teach in Oblong schools rather than go somewhere else.
"We began discussing this about a year ago and other school districts in our area are already doing this, we're one of the last to consider it," Patchett said. "With the current teacher shortage, we're doing all that we can to recruit and retain teachers. As it stands right now, to lose even one teacher and not be able to replace them could have a terrible effect."
Patchett said there are multiple steps to getting the waiver approved including a public hearing, which will be Dec. 16 at 5:40 p.m.
In personnel matters, the board hired Abby Adam Stevens as part-time speech/language pathologist and Kim Meese as 5th and 6th grade school basketball coach.
The board also approved:
Substitute list for teachers, aides, bus drivers, cooks, and custodians.
FY21 Risk Management Plan.
FFA trip request to attend the National Farm Machinery Show and Tractor Pulls on Feb. 13 in Louisville, Ky.
The next regular meeting will be Monday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Oblong Elementary Oblong Room. Before the regular board meeting, there will be a waiver of tuition hearing at 5:40 p.m. and a levy hearing at 5:50 p.m.