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OTTAWA — Ottawa Elementary Schools’ Board of Education approved its amended FY13 budget Monday night with a projected year-end deficit of $423,000 rather than $1 million. Superintendent Cleve Threadgill said the district will borrow money from its working cash fund to cover the deficit. He noted that the state of Illinois had shorted the district $477,000 last year; had that been received, it would have moved the budget to the black.
“The state made all the payments this year and we received our categoricals,” Threadgill said.
He does not expect that trend to continue, however.
“Will they next year? Time will tell,” he said.
Pension costs still could shift to become heavier burdens on local school districts, and transportation funding is teetering between the current 42 percent and a projected 12 percent proration.
“We want to have the best, safest transportation to and from school for our families that we possibly can,” Threadgill said. “I don’t know how you’re supposed to accomplish that if the funding goes down to 12 percent.”
The district made $900,000 worth of spending cuts last year and has projected another $800,000 in cuts this year.
“While we’re trying to be as financially savvy as we can possibly be, we continue to have our state out-cut us,” Threadgill said. “At some point in time if this continues it’s going to have a very negative impact on students.”
With general state aid for FY14 scheduled to come in at only 89 percent, Threadgill anticipates increased funding issues.
“The way I look at it, we will lose in two years about a million dollars of revenue that we greatly need as our EAV (tax base) continues to drop,” Threadgill said.
Other business: * The board recognized retired teacher Esther Funk for her service coordinating the district’s After School Kid’s Club. Funk retired from the program this year.
“She has given above and beyond for the community,” Threadgill said.
The superintendent said he signed a certificate for her very carefully, remembering his days as a student in her sixth-grade reading class. She told the students to sign their names with pride.
“She didn’t like you turning in a paper where you just scribbled (your name) on it,” he said. “You might get that paper handed back.”
* The board approved a cost of $6,960 for new boys and girls basketball uniforms for Shepherd Middle School. Athletic director Craig Shymanski said the uniforms are made of dri-fit material and will not need to be machine dried, allowing them to last longer.
Amy Flanery can be reached at (815) 220-6975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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