Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

October 5, 2012

Unit 50 may face cuts

TEUTOPOLIS — Teutopolis school officials aren’t quite ready to ask Unit 50 residents for suggestions on how to fill a projected $1 million-plus budget hold for the 2013-14 school year.

    But at a special Unit 50 Board of Education meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Bill Fritcher outlined both the problem and the options.

    It’s not a pretty picture, Fritcher said. “We won’t come up with anything that won’t hurt kids.”

    Fritcher said if nothing is done, education fund reserves will be depleted by the end of the 2013-14 school year. He said there are three primary options:

    • Cutting extra-curricular programs, including athletics, after-school tutorials and teaching and non-teaching positions.

    • Raising local property taxes to make up part of the shortfall.

    • Selling working cash bonds as a short-term budget fix.

    A fourth option would be to close the junior high school and move those students into either the grade or high schools.

    Because the district is raising all it legally can for each fund, either raising property tax rates or selling bonds would have to be approved by Unit 50 voters.

    Board president Marty Siemer said just because something is an option, it doesn’t mean the board will approve.

    “We are not advocating higher taxes or working cash bonds,” Siemer said. “But, we do want the people to know that’s an option.”

    Fritcher said a hike in property taxes going into the education fund — the largest fund in any school district — could cut the projected deficit in half, or more. He said an increase from the current level of $1.84 to $2.25 per $100 equalized assessed valuation would raise about $428,000, while an increase to $2.50 per $100 would raise about $684,000.

    Fritcher said a hike to $2.25 per $100 would add about $137 per year to the tax bill for property valued at $100,000, while the hike to $2.50 would add about $220.

    “We would only increase taxes to fill the budget deficit,” he said.

    Fritcher said the district has done a great job in holding costs down despite a consistent enrollment decline over the last decade. But,  he said, it’s just not enough.

    “The issue is revenue, not expenditures,” he said.

    Fritcher said the district has lost $1.5 million in revenue during the past two years alone. Declining enrollment has caused a corresponding drop in per-capita state aid. Moreover, the state’s budget issues have caused officials to prorate the amount of state aid school districts receive. The proration was 95 percent during the 2011-12 school year and is projected to be 89 percent this year.

    Board member Leah Passalacqua urged the board to tread lightly before cutting student programs.

    “We need to know what percentage of the budget those programs affect,” Passalacqua said. “We can lose a lot of opportunities for our students without affecting the budget that much.”

    “Any of these cuts would hurt the kids,” Fritcher said. “What we’re tasked with is finding the things that would hurt the least.”

    Fritcher said he would work on a survey for public release. He did not think a final survey would be ready in time for the board’s Oct. 15 meeting, however.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Column break just that -- a break

    ‘Hey, Ron. You didn’t have a column this week. What’s the deal? It’s the reason I buy a paper on Thursdays.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Isom.jpg Opinion: It's about time

    Finally, someone else speaks up and it’s about time.
    I applaud Ron Worman and welcome him to take a seat on my bandwagon. His addressing the proliferation of signs of every description, virtually everywhere one looks, is a welcome additional voice — even though rare.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Effingham County was meeting place for underage sex tryst

    An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he traveled out of state to meet an underage person in Effingham County for sexual activity.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jail inmate attempts suicide

    An unscheduled cell check is credited for saving the life of an Effingham County Jail inmate who tried to hang himself early Thursday morning.

    July 25, 2014

  • Woman injured in Farina collision

    An accident on Washington Street sent one driver to the hospital Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Driver crashes after being forced off road

    A driver crashed after being run off the road by a semi on Interstate 70.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rollover on I-70 sends one to hospital

    An accident on Interstate-70 sent one traveler to the hospital.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.