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Hall discusses money problems

SPRING VALLEY — Less state aid coupled with less property tax income is a concern for Hall High School, as discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of Hall High board of education.

Working within a balanced budget is a main priority of Superintendent Mike Struna but that is getting more difficult every year, Struna said. The board voted Wednesday to adopt a resolution that will be mailed to state legislators urging them to increase state funding.

“The state of Illinois needs to change the way they fund schools. We have a revenue problem, not an expenditure problem,” said Struna.

Each year schools are placed in one of four categories in regards to their financial stability — Recognition, Review, Early Warning or Watch. In 2005 and 2006, Hall High School was placed on the financial watch list which indicates that the school does not have enough money. As a result, the school borrowed money to balance their budget.

In 2008 and 2009, the district was bumped up to the review list but in 2010 was lowered one position to the early warning list. At that time the board and Struna made significant reductions which included cutting four teachers, one counselor and three teacher aides for a savings of $300,000.

Every year since, state aid has decreased causing the board to make further reductions which included replacing one principal with an assistant principal and replacing two teachers with one aide.

“It’s harder and harder to make cuts every year,” Struna said.

In response to anticipated aid reductions for next school year, the board is looking to make further cuts totaling $300,000. Those possible cuts include replacing two night custodians with one custodian, replacing the librarian with an aide, not replacing a retiring PE/driver’s ed teacher and replacing two other retiring teachers with lower cost teachers.

Struna is also recommending the board decrease cafeteria expenditures, reduce technology expenses and reduce summer secretarial hours, in addition to the amount of money already saved in the property and casualty premium.

Next month the board will discuss the possible elimination of several sport programs and coaches.

In other business, Tony Orlandi of Leopardo Construction updated the board on the progress of the new building. The concrete footing and foundation walls for the Academic Building are complete. Footings and foundation walls are being poured for the other buildings. Structural steel will be put in place beginning this week in the academic building as well.

The board approved the following parts of Bid Package 3 for a total of $6,610,950. The roofing bid was accepted from J.L. Adler Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc.; doors, frames and hardware from S and S Builders Hardware Co.; glass and aluminum from East Moline Glass Co.; fire protection from Automatic Fire Systems Inc.; plumbing from Commercial Mechanical Inc., and HVAC from Dodson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning Inc.

The rest of Bid Package 3, including electrical and masonry, will be awarded in the upcoming weeks so that work can continue.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 21 in the library.

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In other news:
• Graduation requirements are changing for the class of 2016 and beyond. The board has eliminated the semester of speech requirement and increased the electives from 5 to 5.5.
• Handbook changes and Code of Conduct changes were discussed and will be voted on next month.
• The convocation banquet is scheduled for April 29.
• Graduation will be at 7 p.m. May 17. This will be the 100th graduation ceremony and will be held at the stadium, weather permitting.
• State testing took place on April 23-24.
Following closed session the board of education took action on the following items: rehired Angie Carpenter as assistant principal for the 2014-15 school year; hired Katie Lawrence to teach Spanish; and hired Brandon Czubachowski to teach music. Also, Mike Edgcomb and John Marshall were hired as custodians for the 2014-15 school year. The board accepted with regret the resignation of math teacher Josiah Martin.

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