Members of the Pana School Board passed a tentative budget Monday night, Aug. 18, with less red ink in the Education Fund than has been projected over the past few years. Members voted 5-0 in favor with members Clint Foor and John McLeod absent.
The 2014 Fiscal Year budget first indicated a $1.1 million deficit in the Education Fund. However, figures posted on June 30 show the deficit to be about $731,000. The new spending plan for Fiscal 2015 shows the deficit to be about $425,000.
According to Dr. David Lett, Pana school superintendent who presented the budget, there may be a further reduction in the deficit of another $25,000, which would place it at $400,000.
“We have made some significant progress in the reduction of our debt,” Lett said.
Most of the deficit reduction was due to the closure of Tower Hill Jefferson Middle School this school year.
Lett said in the past four years, Illinois state aid to the district has been “shorted” $2.3 million. This year, the state will provide 89% of aid from the 2010 level.
The one bright spot when it comes to state aid is in transportation, Lett said. From early indications, the superintendent said it appears the state will fund the district at a the 100% level. However, this past fiscal year, the state only paid 73% of the total.
Even with the Board approving transferring $200,000 from the Working Cash Fund to Transportation, there will still be a projected deficit of abut $39,000. If not for the transfer, the deficit would be around $238,000.
Over the next 30 days, while the budget is on public display, the numbers will be refined and some adjustments will be made. A final vote on the Fiscal 2015 budget will take place at the next school board meeting, set for Monday, Sept. 22, in the Pana High School library. The meeting is a week later than usual to allow the statutory 30-day public inspection period to be met.
Roof, Floor Repairs–
Lori Ade, District Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Director, reported to the Board the roof of the Unit Office and Bus Garage on East Main Street needs replacing. She said this past winter was especially hard on the roof and with recent rains, it was discovered the roof membrane had pulled away from the edges, causing tears and rips where water has penetrated.
Repairs to the roof were put off due to the need to replace the roofs at Washington and Lincoln schools which were done last summer.
Bid specifications will be prepared on the unit office roof replacement.
Ade also noted repairs are going to be made on the gym floors in both elementary schools which were installed this summer. She said there was a curing issue with the floor covering and the contractor will be in Pana during the Labor Day weekend to make the repairs. The school district will pick up the contractor’s overnight accommodations for the weekend, but the contractor will supply the materials and equipment to make the repairs.
A new policy concerning the conduct of Pana Panthers fans in the bleachers takes effect this school year after the Board approved the policy at the meeting.
Fans who violate the policy will be issued a warning for the first offense. Second offense will mean a one-game suspension and a 365-day probationary period. If a third offense occurs while on probation, the spectator will be suspended for at least one year from attending any school sanctioned event.
An agreement between the school district and the Pana Sports Boosters was approved. The plan covers varsity uniforms and the replacement of uniforms every five years. It will be the responsibility of the athlete or parents to replace a uniform which is mot returned, lost or damaged. The player and parent will be required to sign a uniform -equipment policy form.
Administrators praised the work of the district’s custodial staff for the work they did this summer in moving equipment and classroom from Jefferson Middle School to Lincoln School and the junior high. Staff also moved classroom from Lincoln to Washington School for the start of the school year.
In employment matters, the Board approved hiring three high school teachers. Those hired are Jared Wolf, high school math; Michael Kinkade, high school English; and Sara Christine, high school football cheerleading coach.
Resignations approved were Rachel Willenborg, high school Family and Consumer Science teacher; Dustin McDonald, high school Math teacher and bowling coach; Stepnanie Day, high school English; Laura McNeely, paraprofessional and playground aide; and Cynthia Denning, Parent Coordinator.
Mark Schmitz was given the added duty of District School Improvement Coordinator.
Volunteer coaches appointed were Cody McLaughlin, high school football and Denise Dameris, high school volleyball.
Superintendent Lett reported 40 more school districts have joined the SB (Senate Bill)-16 Support Coalition. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), is a “redistribution of assets,” Lett said.
“There is not new revenue contained in this bill,” Lett said. “This bill brings equity to the school aid formula. The current formula does not reflect lower equalized assessed valuation of many school districts, especially downstate.”
The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 p.m.