Board approves tentative FY22 budget
By ARIANA R. CHERRY
Senator Chapin Rose made an appearance at the most recent ALAH School Board meeting and spoke during public comment to speak about his plan for pursuing a class action lawsuit regarding Governor Pritzer’s latest mask mandates for all schools in Illinois.
“The mask isn’t an issue – Rose said. “I am a lawyer, but I am not allowed to give legal advice,” he noted. Rose said that he had buckets of schools who have decided not to comply with the recent mask mandate and had been threatened that their funding would be taken away and not be able to be a recognized school, etc. “They have been coerced into a position of compliance,” he said. “What is fundamentally unAmerican action is threatening restraint for a vote that is never going to happen anyway. I don’t care what anyone’s view is about masks or not masks – you can’t threaten an official’s license to force them to take action or refrain from taking action,” Rose added. He went on to share his idea for taking action against the mandate.
“It makes no sense for no school district to go at it alone. The idea is that everybody gets in a room, and puts money in a pot to go forward in the name of local control – this is not about masks or no masks. School boards have the right to say what they want. No JB,” he said. Rose explained that there would be a meeting for school districts who are interested in moving forward against the governor. They would share the cost of the lawsuit by pooling their money together.
“I’ve politely reminded them that our board members are not the enemy. JB Pritzer is winning because we are fighting each other. We should not be fighting teachers, administrators and school board members,” Rose said. “We should be fighting the person who brought us to do this.
The only way for this to work is for 50-200 school districts to go in this together so the cost would be small and vote for local control. This is your community and you know best,” he concluded.
Superintendent Shannon Cheek and the rest of the board thanked Senator Rose for coming to speak and then welcomed the next speaker for public comment which was retired pastor Al Reinert.
Reinert opened with a question. “Who is in charge when the kids are learning? Who decides,” he asked. “I realize you are in the midst of a huge revolution. When history writes this story, they will look back at this time and say things changed in a big way because there was a power struggle about who is in charge?” he spoke.
Reinert went on. “Who determines what is taught and who determines how it is taught? That is something parents and as a substitute teacher, I am very concerned about (he is also a youth minister and retired pastor). I wonder how these kids learn simple things? It’s very hard for some of these kids today to determine what 3/8 inches or what a foot is without their calculators. There is a power struggle. I commend you for your part in this because it won’t be easy. You have to do what your constituents want you to do. I wonder if there will be any official comments about these things because I would be very interested about where the parents are going on this? Especially district unit 305,” Reinert concluded.
Cheek and board members thanked Reinert for his comments and then moved onto communications.
Former school board member Mike Hilgenberg expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the board in a letter, complimenting all of their work and efforts, expressing that he understood what they were going through, as he had been a board member once as well.
After going through the consent agenda, the board moved on with the Treasurer’s Report. It was noted that a payment for transportation was received but it was the last payment for fiscal year 21, which still leaves the district one payment behind as usual. A donation of $200 towards JFL for the athletics department was also received. “This is just another example of our community and what they do for us,” said Cheek.
Since the district was unable to contract their own school psychologist and speech and language pathologist contracts for Presence Learning School Psychologist and Speech Pathologist were improved. “We will be contracting the service. It is not ideal, but the goal is not to continue this process, not because of the services we are getting, but we would like to have our own (in-house). We have been having trouble finding applicants in the area and there has been a shortage of Special Ed staff – but not just in Arthur, in many areas. It is unfortunate, but it is the situation we are in right now, “ Cheek explained.
The FY 22 tentative budget was discussed next. Cheek reminded everyone that as always, the budget will be posted for the next 30 days and then there will be a hearing, in September, as well as a vote to approve the budget afterward. He went on to shed some light and explain some of the aspects of the school budget for informational purposes so that more people could understand it better.
Cheek explained the purpose for a budget: 1). A financial plan to accomplish BOE goals, 2.)Satisfy a minimum level of financial/program information for state, local and federal governments, 3). Provide both expending and taxing authority, 4). Meet requirements imposed by Illinois law, 5). Estimate of revenues and expenditures, 6). Provides a tool to measure fiscal performance and 6). The budget is a flexible, working document. He also explained that after a hearing and approval of the budget with the school board, it had to be submitted electronically to the ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education), by October 30. The budget is made up of nine separate funds 1). Education Fund, 2). Operation and Maintenance, 3). Transportation, 4). Illinois Municipal Retirement and Social Security, 5). Debt Service, 6). Capital Projects, 7). Fire Prevention/Safety, 8). Working Cash and 9). Tort. The sources of revenue for a budget came from property taxes (with a rate set through levy), General State Aid, grants and aid, Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT), federal aid, local fees and interest income.
The following are the estimated FY 21-22 revenue: Education: $9,912,951, Operations and Maintenance: $$1,112,805, Debt Service: $425,771, Transportation: $1,078,308, IMRF: $327,842, Capital Projects: $150,050, Working Cash: $110,789, Tort: $292,389, Life Safety: $110,609.
The estimated FY 2021-2022 expenditures are as follows: Education: $9,975,573, Operations and Maintenance: $1,025,762, Debt Service: $556,881, Transportation: $1,028, 912, IMRF: $317,353, Capital Projects: $0, Working Cash: $o, Tort: $260,058, Life Safety: $330,200.
After explaining the budget, Cheek wrapped up the presentation. “For 2022, we are operating on about a 13.5 million budget and estimating about 13.5 million of expenditures. We feel really good about where we are at,” he said.
At the end of the board meeting, Cheek thanked several people who had been a great help recently.
“With everything going on, I want to commend Haley (Administrative Assistant) for all the effort for helping me get this ready tonight. We spent a lot of extra time getting this together in a crunch. Any changes from now until September will be communicated,” he noted.
“Maintenance did a nice job. It’s stressful and Bill is doing a nice job in managing his stress. They did a nice job and did some good work this summer,” Cheek added. He went on. “I appreciate the community’s willingness to attend and participate in the special meetings we had. They were emotional and emotions were high, but they were necessary,” Cheek said.
Next, Cheek went on to thank the administration staff. “We were in a pretty good place and then it hit, and here we are again. We are wondering what it is going to look like. You were in the buildings when you didn’t have to be but you were. It didn’t go unnoticed. I appreciate your work,” he said.
Cheek then concluded the public portion of the meeting. “We’re not back to normal – but I think the kids enjoy being here and things are going good.”
August 18, 2021
•Accept the letter of resignation from Mr. Todd Campbell as the JH ELA teacher at LGS
•Recommend accepting Mr. Tim Manselle’s letter with his intent to retire date
•Recommend for hire Lisa Hood as AHGS paraprofessional for the 2021-2022 school year.
•Accept the letter of resignation from Sherry Young as a bus aide.
•Accept the letter of resignation from Sherry Young as part time custodian
•Recommend for hire Wittney Burns for Health Aide for the district
•Accept the letter of resignation from Bob Silvanik as JH Assistant Baseball coach and HS Head Baseball Coach
•Recommend for hire Patrick Lindstrom as Head Soccer coach
•Recommend for hire Melissa Nichols as Cheer Coach
•Accept the letter of resignation from Daniel Ruyle as the JH Boys Basketball Assistant and Varsity Assistant Football Coach