Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

November 13, 2012

Teutopolis survey respondents favor cutting sports, want junior high open

TEUTOPOLIS — While Unit 50 school officials have expressed a need to cut about $1 million from next year’s budget, respondents to a survey recently distributed to district residents are urging caution.

    “There’s a lot of caveats in the comments,” said board member Gene Niemerg.

    More than 1,000 respondents completed the survey earlier this month, according to information presented at Tuesday’s Unit 50 Board of Education meeting. Survey questions were designed to solicit local input on what should be cut.

    Solid majorities favored cuts that would have moderate impact. For example, 538 respondents, or 54 percent, favored cutting 20 percent from the budgets of each extra-curricular and athletic activity, while only 11 percent favored doing away with all activities.

    Moreover, 644 respondents, or 69 percent, said closing Teutopolis Junior High School should not be an option at this time. Another 25 percent favored closing the junior high and moving seventh and eighth graders to the grade school, while another 16 percent favored moving students from the closed junior high to Teutopolis High School.

    Survey respondents also heavily favored increasing class sizes to save academic elective programs. While 73 percent of respondents favored increasing class sizes to reduce teaching positions, only 15 percent favored eliminating all but core academic subjects.

    Twenty-five percent favored eliminating band at all three schools,  while another 14 percent favored eliminating high school vocational classes.

    A solid majority of 57 percent took a dim view of any property tax increase, while only 25 percent favored a modest tax increase and an even lower group of 7 percent favored a larger increase.

    Board president Marty Siemer said he would like board members to look over the survey results before the board’s Dec. 17 meeting.

    “I think we need some time to digest this,” Siemer said.

    But board member Jim Buhnerkempe said the board shouldn’t take too much time on the survey.

    “We need to take a look at these numbers and move down the road in the next four weeks,” Buhnerkempe said, adding that the board needed to determine how many classrooms were open at the grade and high schools before closing the junior high.

    Niemerg noted that a plan was in place to restructure the junior high without closing the building.

    Siemer said the board may schedule a special meeting to discuss survey results.

    Board members and administrators agreed Monday that any cuts will be painful.

    “At what point does it become too much?” Siemer asked.

    “The analysis is going to be what can we do and is it worth it?” Buhnerkempe said.

    Also Monday, the board approved a tentative tax levy. Fritcher said the proposed levy of $3,762,954 would be an 8.7 percent increase over last year’s levy. He added that the expected increase in property value for the district justified the increase.

    “We’re not controlling the value of the property,” he said. “We’re just trying to capture what that value is.”

    School districts are effectively mandated to collect all they can from local property owners or risk losing a portion of their state aid. Moreover, a levy increase does not necessarily mean that property tax rates will increase because there is often more property owners in place to share the burden.

    A truth-in-taxation hearing is set for 7:15 p.m. Dec. 17.

    In other action Monday, the board agreed to move forward on roofing projects at the high school and adjacent bus garage. The board accepted a bid from Swingler Construction in Teutopolis for $47,491, while hiring Top Quality Roofing of Mt. Zion to replace the roof over the high school band room for $41,700.

    Also Monday, the board:

    • Hired Anita Deters, Christy Repking and Carla Deters to work part-time in the grade school cafeteria.

    • Accepted resignation from teacher aides Kim Bloemer and Brooks Swinderman, and high school fall play director Kevin Niemerg.

    • Approved Kelsey Rubin, Tiffany Hostettler, Olivia Klaus and John O’Dell as student teachers for the second semester of this school year.

    Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.

Text Only
Local News
  • City to determine contribution A request by Effingham Park District representatives for a million dollars to help construct the Richard E. Workman Sports and Wellness Center is being considered at a special Effingham City Council meeting this evening.Some commissioners questioned

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29 Filming PRIMARY Effingham grad returns to make film Travis Long says he learned a lot from directing his first full-length feature several years ago.“Kill Me Now was a learning experience, both in shooting and distribution,” the 1998 Effingham High School graduate said.With a full production crew and

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • 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

AP Video

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.