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 Tuesday, Sept, 30, the 273rd day of 2014. There are 92 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: The ARGUS Boys are very anxious to attend the great Democratic mass meeting tomorrow and we shall therefore, print no paper on the day. 1889 — 125 years ago: H.J. Lowery resigned from his position as manager at the Harper House. 1914 — 100 years ago: Curtis & Simonson was the name of a new legal partnership formed by two younger members of the Rock Island County Bar. Hugh Cyrtis and Devore Simonson.. 1939 — 75 years ago: Harry Grell, deputy county clerk was named county recorder to fill the vacancy caused by a resignation. 1964 — 50 years ago: A new world wide reader insurance service program offering around the clock accident protection for Argus subscribers and their families is announced today. 1989 — 25 years ago: Tomato plant and other sensitive greenery may have had a hard time surviving overnight as temperatures neared the freezing point.