Posted Online: April 17, 2013, 11:04 pm

East Moline school board discusses selling $3M in bonds

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By Sarah Hayden, shayden@qconline.com

EAST MOLINE — School board members on Wednesday held a public hearing on selling $3 million in working cash fund bonds to help cover shortfalls in state aid.

Superintendent Kristin Humphries said the money is needed to make up $1.1 million the state cut from the district's aid. Illinois still owes the district $700,000 from last year and $600,000 for this year.

Mr. Humphries said the money will be used over the next three years and will add to the education fund until the state can turn its finances around.

"We'd like to have this money just in case the state keeps shorting us," he said. "We hope we don't have to spend all this money. If it's possible, if things turn around, we'd like to abate this back to the taxpayer."

Mr. Humphries said much of the money will be used for capital improvements and to buy new buses.

"Our buses are in extremely bad condition. We need to update our fleet," he said. "It's cheaper to buy buses than to fix them."

Noting the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, he said security also is a priority and the front entrances of several schools must be redesigned by removing all-glass doors and making access more difficult.He estimates the work will cost $350,000 to $400,000.

The board will vote May 22 on whether to approve the bond sale.

During the regular meeting, board members were updated on Fiesta Summer Camp at Hillcrest Elementary School free to all district students. The program offers breakfast and lunch and can accommodate up to 80 students.

Also on Wednesday:

-- Ron Harris was named principal of Glenview Middle School. He replaces Perry Hill, who resigned in February. Mr. Harris has been principal of Hillcrest Elementary School for three years.
-- Cole O'Donnell told board members a school crossing guard is jeopardizing the safety of students by talking on a cell phone and using ear buds to listen to music.