MOLINE -- The Moline-Coal Valley School District board voted Monday night to approve an up to $9.8 million bond issuance that will help fund the Hamilton school project.
The district is planning to expand Hamilton school while closing Ericsson and Garfield schools, with the stated goals being to improve student performance and save money. Ericsson could be re-purposed, possibly as a community center, and Garfield likely will be sold. The plan also includes the loss of a principal, another becoming an assistant principal and the reduction of administrative assistants and custodial staff.
The plan is expected to create an annual saving of about $350,000 and be complete by 2015.
The vote Monday night was at the regular board meeting and was unanimous, with Cecilia O'Brien not present.
The issuance is not expected to affect the district's portion of the property tax levy and should be paid off within seven years, Dave McDermott, the district's chief financial officer, said.
The board has the power to issue the bonds without referendum by statute, he said.
In other business, the board also unanimously approved a staffing proposal related to the Moline District's pending withdrawal from the Black Hawk Area Special Education District.
The special education district includes 14 school districts in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. They share the cost of providing services to students with emotional, cognitive or physical disabilities. For decades, the Moline school district has provided administration for BHASED; many of its teachers and staff are Moline school district employees.
In late 2012, the Moline school board approved a number of cost-saving measures, including leaving BHASED in the 2014-15 school year. Leaving the special education district was projected to save Moline schools up to $1 million annually.
Moline's students who are enrolled in BHASED are being folded back into Moline's student body. About 20 students and some staff already have been transferred and another 20 students and a handful of the roughly 60 teachers and paraprofessionals still with BHASED are to be brought over in 2014-15.
The plan approved Monday night involves hiring several specialized staff, including a psychologist, a counselor and social workers, to help with those students once the transfer is complete.
Through the initial transfer, the district saved about $400,000. The final transfer is expected to add savings of $413,835 for an expected total of $813,835 annually.
But the cost of the additional staff will reduce the district's saving to about $573,835.
Survey on Ericsson School
The Moline-Coal Valley School District wants input from the public about what could be done with Ericsson School.
The survey can be filled out until Tuesday, Nov. 12, and is available in English and Spanish on the school website molineschools.org.
Physical versions are available in English and Spanish at Ericsson School, 335 5th Ave.; Lincoln-Irving School, 1015 16th Ave.; the Moline COPS office, at 4th Avenue and 4th Street; St. Mary’s Church, 412 10th St.; and the school district office, 1619 11th Ave.