Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

August 13, 2013

Board addresses transportation issue

Jackson Adams Daily News
Effingham Daily News

---- — ALTAMONT— With the first games of the season days away, Altamont School Board further discussed guidelines for extracurricular activities at its board meeting Monday.

“We’re making this policy today, and I think we’re going to have to live with this for several years,” said board member Randy Tillman.

At issue is a provision in the proposed guidelines that states “Altamont CUSD 10 will pay for transportation.” One of the reasons the board cut several sports at the end of the last school year was to potentially save money in transportation costs. The proposed provision has prompted some school board members to question why the district would continue to pay for transportation during a cash-strapped time.

However, as many teams begin practicing or inch closer to competing for the first time, Superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch said there isn’t enough time to request fundraisers to bring together the money necessary to meet a still unknown goal.

“If somebody doesn’t have the money or can’t get it, they’re going to come to my office and ask how they’re going to pay for transportation,” he said. “What am I going to do, hand them a fundraising request form? It puts me in a very precarious position.”

The board ultimately decided to allow the funding of transportation, but not without stipulations.

The district will pay for the transportation of self-funded sports during the 2013-14 school year and plans on calculating and keeping track of the distance many of the teams travel and how much gas is used. Those findings will be used to assess how much transportation money each self-funded sport will need to raise in the future.

Also Monday, Fritchtnitch presented to the board a tentative budget for the 2013-14 school year. He said the district will be spending in deficit this coming year but not as badly as other local districts.

“It’s not bad compared to what a lot of other people are dealing with,” he said. “Is it good? No, but it is what it is.”

According to the budget, the district will have a deficit of $195,000 in the Education Fund and $24,000 in the Operations and Maintenance Fund. Fritchtnitch blames continued cuts from the state as one of the causes for the deficits.

“I’ve said it before,” he said. “But when you lose 11 percent two years in a row, that’s a 22 percent decrease in revenue that we won’t have and will never get back.”

Despite the cuts in state aid, registration numbers at the district have increased slightly, which Fritchtnitch said is something of a point of pride.

“We’re obviously educating more kids with less money,” he said.