AlWood figures don't balance out

Sherrie Taylor/GateHouse News Service

The AlWood School District will not have a balanced budget for 2008-09, according to information presented at a budget hearing on Sept. 15.

Total expenditures are estimated at $5,169,796, while revenue is expected to total only $4,869,265.

“The education fund does not have a balanced budget this school year; however, there was a surplus at the end of the 2008 school year,” said Supt. Shannon Bumann. “The budgeted expenditures are about $15,000 more than the budgeted revenues.”

“The revenues decreased slightly from last year, while expenditures increased over $128,000, largely due to increases in salaries and insurance benefits,” Bumann said.

An expense of $45,535 to the Moline School District for special education tuition was paid this fiscal year, though the expense was incurred last year; the bill was not received in time to pay last year.

In other business:

?Alpha resident David Althaus reported on the “80 in ’08” committee working to provide information to district residents for the referendum.

“Our single most important purpose is to help voters make an educated decision in November,” he said, adding, “If people are informed, this will go the direction we need it to.”

One of the questions the committee has been asked is when was the last education fund tax increase. The education fund tax rate has not been increased since 1989; the tax rate has been $2.65 for almost 20 years, “though the district voters passed a bond referendum in 1998, for the middle school building,” Althaus said.

The next public meeting for the committee is 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Alpha school. The regular AlWood board meeting will follow that public meeting.

Residents are urged to attend the meeting and have their questions answered, Althaus said.

In addition, information and frequently asked questions are being posted on the AlWood Web site.

?AlWood Middle/High School Principal Jay Bizarri reported on test scores.

“The grade school and middle school are doing very well on the ISAT,” he noted. “Staff is encouraging the high school students to take high-level, challenging courses such as math and science.”

Karen Clarke, high school staff, gave a presentation on how the ISAT, PSAE and ACT tests are administered. Scores are used to determine AlWood’s progress toward meeting the annual progress to meet the mandated No Child Left Behind.

?“The sixth-day enrollment figures indicated AlWood is down about 14 students from last year, about where we thought it would be,” Bumann reported.

?Bumann reported on information regarding leasing buses instead of buying, and will compile a five-year plan for the board to consider.

?Substitute pay was increased to $75, up from $70.

?Resignations were accepted for Kristi VerHeecke (basketball cheerleading coach) and Shirley Guild (part-time Alpha custodian).

?Approved as high school football cheerleading sponsors were Lindsey Higgerson and Kelly Nelson.