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In the red

PRINCETON — The Princeton Elementary School District will need to cut an estimated $1.3 million from its budget during the next four years, which could mean some significant staffing adjustments.

At this week’s PES Board meeting, Finance Committee Chairman Steve Bouslog reported on the committee’s recent discussions on the continuing revenue problems for the district and the need to cut expenses. Those needed cost-savings measures could no doubt involve staff reductions, which could mean not replacing people who retire and hiring new people at lower salaries, he said.

As another consideration regarding possible staff adjustments, the board will need to consider the impact of those potential measures on class size, Bouslog said, adding the quality of education at PES would no doubt be affected.

Concerning the ongoing problems with state funding, Bouslog said he does not expect things to get better. The district will have some hard decisions to make, he said.

In his comments, Superintendent Tim Smith said PES is currently operating with about the same amount of revenue as it did in 2006, with expenses up more than $1 million in that time frame. The problem for the district continues to be on the revenue side of the budget. With the loss of Hold Harmless funding and a decrease in general state aid and the local equalized assessed valuation (EAV), there are too many things going wrong for the district, Smith said.

As reported earlier, the local EAV has gone down about $10 million, from about $244 million to $233 million, with the recent removal of portions of Perry Memorial Hospital from the tax rolls.

As a result of the decreased EAV, the PES District is expected to receive about $190,000 less tax money in its education fund, the largest fund in the budget. The building fund is expected to receive about $32,000 less; the bond and interest fund, $40,000 less; the transportation fund, $16,000 less; IMRF, $15,000 less; working cash fund, $9,000 less; tort immunity, $19,000 less; and the life safety fund, $6,000 less.

In other financial discussions at Monday’s meeting, Smith said the state of Illinois still owes PES a total of $467,402 for the current fiscal year, as of Monday. Of that amount, $380,808 is owed in the education fund and $86,594 is owed in the transportation fund.

In other business, district attorney Walt Zukowski reviewed 12 pieces of education legislation before the Illinois General Assembly, ranging, in part, from a concealed weapons bill, to physical education waivers, full-day kindergarten requirements and maximum class sizes.

The board also approved the hiring of Scott Vrana and LaRissa Bickett as physical education teachers and also accepted the retirement of district treasurer/bookkeeper Kay Wallace, effective June 2013.

The PES Board announced it will meet in special session at 5 p.m. March 11 with State Rep. Don Moffitt and State Sen. Darin LaHood to discuss education needs for school districts, specifically for PES.

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