ALEDO -- Mercer County School District Superintendent Alan Boucher told the school board this week he's looking to trim spending next school year by $900,000 to $1.1 million below this year's budget of just less than $13 million.
Mr. Boucher said the cuts are necessary because state aid for next year is likely to be $1.6 million less than this year. Part of the drop is because this year is the final one the district is receiving an incentive provided when it was formed by consolidating the Aledo and Westmer districts. The incentive was $591,000 this year for a grand total of $1.9 million over the past four years.
He predicted the district would also received less in general state aid and in transportation aid.
For budget planning purposes, building principals have already been notified that just $5,000 will be budgeted for textbooks next year, down from last year's $43,000.
In addition, Mr. Boucher notified both senior high and junior high athletic directors to submit recommendations reducing the sports budget by 10 percent for both junior high and high school athletics for the 2013-14 school year. This year's district's athletic budget for the junior high is around $90,000, with $240,000 budgeted for high school sports.
Mr. Boucher said the district should end its fiscal year on June 30, 2013 in the black.
Among the financial issues on the table for the next fiscal year include whether to continue with a mixed approach for transportation – half by the district and half by Johannes Bus Service.
Mr. Boucher reviewed the one transportation bid submitted by Johannes to provide all the transportation next year.
Overall, his analysis showed that Johannes could provide bus route transportation for regular route busing for less than what the district's cost is, but it would cost more for extracurricular busing. He cited employee payroll, retirement, workers compensation and fuel costs as well as any new bus costs (be they purchased or leased buses) as factors to consider.
The district's total cost for transportation in 2011-2012 was $1,062,633. Currently the district runs 11 regular routes, with Johannes providing for the rest.
The Johannes bid came in at around $996,000, according to Mr. Boucher.
The board did not vote on which route to go.
On the positive side, Mr. Boucher said the April 9 approval of a one percent sales tax to benefit the schools should bring in around $300,000 annually. The measure will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, with the district receiving its first payment about three months later.
In other business the board:
-- Ratified a three-year labor agreement with the Mercer County Education Employee Association effecting cooks and maintenance workers in the district.
·-- Approved hiring Lonnie Rinell as varsity volleyball coach; New Boston kindergarten teacher Jadian Simpkins, Apollo first grade teacher Kaylin Liken and third grade teacher Julia Brodrick, and New Boston mower Greg LeHew. Resignatiosn were accepted from Jason Snyder, assistant junior high wrestling coach and Jeremy Finch, varsity wrestling coach.
-- Renewed the superintendent's contract through 2016, with salary of $135,000 annually and family health insurance.
-- Agreed to purchase a few more security cameras for outdoor use at the high school for $2,925.
-- Approved raising meal prices for next year by 20 cents at all schools milk prices by a nickel.
Today is Monday, March 10, the 69th day of 2014. There are 296 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Numerous counterfeiters are around, taking advantage of the influx of currency to pass their worthless trash. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.J. Reimers, secretary and treasurer of the Rock Island Lumber and Manufacturing Co., on behalf of that firm, contributed $500 toward construction of a new Methodist church. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Samuel Ryerson, county recorder, was re-elected president of the 19th District of Knights of Pythias. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Three condemnation suits have been filed by the city of Rock Island to acquire property needed for an approach to the Rock Island-Davenport bridge, which has been under construction since March 6. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Plans for an eight-story Sheraton Inn in downtown Rock Island were announced today at a luncheon meeting at the Gay Nineties sponsored by the Rock Island Chamber of Commerce. Cost of the structure is estimated at $2.5 million. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Representatives of the Hardee's Golf Classic and tournament sponsor Hardee's Food Systems may meet next week with PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman to discuss a possible change in the tournament dates.