Most of the Pana School Board’s meeting time, Monday, Sept. 23, was spent discussing the new fiscal year budget and a preliminary review of the district’s report card, based on the results of standardized tests taken last spring. The meeting held in the Unit Office on East Main St.
Prior to the start of the meeting, a public hearing was held in the Unit Office on the Fiscal 2014 budget.
Dr. David Lett broke down the budget for board members and showed there will be a $1.2 million deficit when the year comes to an end on June 30, 2014. Most of the deficit will come in the Education Fund where the deficit is $1.1 million. Expenditures for the year are estimated at just less than $13 million with revenues pegged at $11.8 million.
The deficit numbers do not show any signs of coming into balance any time soon, so the Superintendent told the Board he is going to prepare a plan which will bring the 2015 Fiscal Year Budget back into balance. He plans to release the plan in time for the Board’s meeting in October.
Lett said with a reserve of $4.9 million in the Education Fund, deficit spending on the order of $1.1 million will take the amount down in a hurry.
Declining revenues are tied to less state aid being appropriated by the state legislature and the loss of student enrollment in the district.
The schools are paid on a per pupil basis, and with a loss in student enrollment, less money is available to the school district.
The new budget was approve by a 6-0 vote. Board member Dr. Bill Beyers was absent.
Unofficial statistics released on the school district’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report shows what officials have been predicting – a drop in the test scores.
According to federal guidelines, 92.5% of students should be meeting or exceeding the standards established. Most every school district in the area have not met this standard.
Pana Assistant School Superintendent David Dively says the numbers are deceiving because of new “cut score” standards which were applied to this round of results. Using the old “cut score” standards, the district held its own.
Only Pana Junior High School met the standard in AYP at all levels for the school district, based on Safe Harbor Target scores. The rest of the attendance centers, excluding Washington School in which no testing is done, failed to reach AYP in either Reading or Math.
They also lamented the State of Illinois has not been granted a waiver from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards whereas every other state has been granted the waiver when they requested.
Junior High Property–
The Board voted to allow the three local real estate agencies a 90-day listing for the old Pana Junior High School property.
After approving a contract with Aumann Realty and Auction in Nokomis to appraise the property, the local companies approached the district about the situation. After talking with the Nokomis firm, it was agreed to allow Pana realtors a chance to sell the property.
The appraised value of the two tracts is $76,800. Tract 1 has a value of $19,200 and the second Tract is valued at $57,600.
If the local agents do not sell the property in the specified time, the Aumann firm will then offer it for auction on-line.
The meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.