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DIMMICK — Dimmick School superintendent Ryan Linnig will be watching several meetings closely this week, as his district and officials and residents of the Cherry school district are dedicated to ensuring Cherry students go to Dimmick next fall.
Linnig planned to attend a Ladd School Board meeting Tuesday, today’s 6:30 p.m. Dimmick meeting and a Cherry School Board meeting Thursday. He also will monitor what happens at the Hall High School Board meeting tonight. He remains hopeful that the Ladd and Hall boards will not formally oppose allowing Cherry students (in eastern Bureau County in the Hall district) to attend Dimmick (in western La Salle County in the La Salle-Peru Township High School district).
If there’s not opposition from Ladd, Hall or the Bureau-Henry-Stark counties’ regional boards, then state Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) has said he can introduce legislation in Springfield in the fall veto session to make a specific law to allow Cherry students to attend Dimmick, outside of their high school district, before going to Hall High, which is their own district, in their freshman year.
Linnig said there seems to be misunderstanding among voters in the Hall district that the Hall district would lose the Cherry grade school district’s equalized assessed valuation and resulting property taxes if the Cherry students don’t attend classes within the boundaries of the district. He says that is not the case, and it’s a certainty that Cherry district residents will be bound to help pay taxes for construction of the new Hall High School.
“It’s been a little frustrating to see communities that weren’t involved get involved,” Linnig said Tuesday afternoon prior to a meeting in Ladd, where he is a resident.
In addition to discussion of the status or complications of the merger at tonight’s 6:30 meeting at Dimmick, the Dimmick board agenda includes approval of 10 iPads for the fourth- and fifth-grade students to use. The sixth- and seventh-graders already have them to use for various projects, and the board is considering purchase for grades K-3. The board also will have a public hearing on the budget and a scheduled vote to approve the budget. Linnig said the district might see extra costs approaching $40,000 to send to students to the Circuit Breaker (behavior-disorder or issues) school in Peru.
“At this point in time we are maintaining positive fund balances except in our IMRF/ Social Security fund,” Linnig said. The board is in its fifth year of intentionally running a deficit in that retirement fund in an effort to hold down tax rates, but the board may see a need to raise the IMRF levy in following years and lower a levy elsewhere.
The district is not budgeting this year for attendance by students from Cherry, but board members may approve some purchases during this budget year to prepare for those students. Among the possible purchases may be 20 Chromebooks specifically for safe, fast Internet browsing for the seventh- and eighth-graders who may, if or when a merger finally is approved, come from Cherry to Dimmick next year. Each of the seventh- and eighth-graders has one of the $279 units.
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