Posted Online: April 17, 2013, 10:11 pm
Orion schools fear fewer state transportation dollars
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By Lisa Hammer, email@example.com
ORION - Superintendent David Deets warned Wednesday night that the governor's budget calls for school transportation to be funded at just 19 percent of full funding.
"I know it's negotiating, but the chance of getting to 75 or 80 percent which is where it's been the last couple of years isn't good," he said. "For rural districts like ours, that's going to be quite an adjustment."
Regardless if the cuts come next year or in the next couple of years after that, it will mean "pretty significant changes," Mr. Deets said.
He also noted pension liability looms as a big financial hit -- a "real dark cloud in terms of the budget."
But he noted positive financial news in the county-wide sales tax for schools approved by voters April 9. Proceeds from the tax can only go toward operations and maintenance. Mr. Deets said that, of 18 Illinois counties with such a measure on April 9 ballots, Henry County was one of only six that passed it.
Outgoing board president Doug Nelson suggested the board use 50 percent of the new tax revenue for immediate needs and hold 50 percent for future bonding.
The board will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. April 30 to seat new members Heath McCullough and Christi Monson. Mr. McCullough, who has four children in the district, owns and operates a painting business. Ms. Monson is the mother of two who is leaving her job as a case manager for Braveheart Child Advocacy Center to be an adjunct instructor at Black Hawk College.
The board presented Mr. Nelson and Larry Atkinson with commemorative clocks. Mr. Nelson leaves the board after 16 years, 10 as board president, while Mr. Atkinson served 12 years on the board and was vice chairman of the Blackhawk Division of the Illinois Association of School Boards.
The board also:
-- Rehired Christina Zurcher and Zachery Zurcher for the ESP child care providers.
-- Hired Natalie Crose as a new teacher for the 2013-14 school year.
-- Heard a complaint from Hallie Tatge over the treatment of her 8-year-old son by a bus driver.
-- Noted middle school promotion is May 24 and high school graduation is May 19.
-- Notedthe grade school carnival is April 26 and the Field Day is May 17, with a rain date of May 20.