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BV continues to face financial downfalls

MANLIUS – The Bureau Valley School Board recently reviewed the district’s tentative budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which projects a similar deficient as last year’s fiscal budget.

Superintendent James Whitmore confirmed last year’s budget provided a deficient of around $700,000.

Since February, the board has been forced to make deep cuts and increase fees in order to lower the deficit.

With numerous financial setbacks throughout the year including lower state aid payments and increased expenditures, the board worked this spring to come up with ways to cover the deficit.

“Whatever you do, you just don’t seem to come out of it,” Whitmore said. “It seems to be the same story for several school districts.”

Whitmore said the good news is the district didn’t use as much bond money as they had anticipated. Last fall, the district approved to sell $3 million worth of bonds. The district was forced to use half of that money to make up last year’s budget.

Another bit of information Whitmore shared was about state revenue. Although payments have been cut back, they have been coming in on time.

“If that was to occur again next summer, our budget will look even better,” he said. “But you can never count on state money.”

Looking ahead, the board anticipates a number of retirements at the end of the year, which Whitmore said will be a cost-saving opportunity. The board will continue to avoid having to draw from bond money to keep as much in reserves as possible.

The board prompted discussion on the possibility of crafting a two- or three-year financial plan based on past budgets. Whitmore said this might be able give the board a clearer road map to follow when working with future budgets.

Also at their August board meeting, the board:

• Agreed to purchase a 36-plus passenger wheelchair-equipped bus from Midwest Transit of Kankakee for $83,972.

• Approved a German Club overnight trip to Concordia Language Village.

• Approved the alternative education/behavior disorder program budgets as presented by administrator Egan Hicks.

• Placed the FY 2014 district budget on display and set a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. Sept. 23 in the district office.

• Approved participation for BV North and South junior high students in cross country meets at parent or student expense.

• Hired BV North food service employee Michelle Miller, BV South food service employee Kristi Aukes, BV North part-time Title 1/reading teacher Lois Behrens, Wyanet morning bus monitor Melissa Latta, alternative education aide Kathy Scheri, sophomore class sponsor Deanna Coers, junior class sponsor Brian Humphreys and assistant girls basketball coaches Wayne Bailey and Paul McMahon.

• Accepted the resignations of John Roberts as high school drama coach and Josh Bell as technology aide.

• Granted maternity leave to Jessica Lannen.

• Established a salary of $77,500 for technology director J.D. Waldschmidt.

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