Budget numbers are colored in red

Doug Boock

Galva School District will operate under a deficit budget in the 2009 fiscal year.

The budget lists $5,745,371 in revenues and $6,294,555 in expenses, a 9 percent deficit.

“We always overestimate our expenditures and underestimate our revenues, so the budget will actually come out pretty close to being balanced if we’re fiscally responsible,” Supt. Dr. James Minick explained Tuesday.   

The Galva School Board on Sept. 22 unanimously accepted the budget after no public members were present to voice opinions in a public hearing before the board’s regular monthly meeting.

In other business:

?Minick and principals Richard Kucharz and Doug O’Riley shared information from the latest Galva School District report card from the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Minick noted demographic issues which he said reflect well on Galva schools, including high parent involvement, small class sizes and low student-teacher ratios.

“All of the things are in place” for success, he said.

O’Riley pointed to a big increase -? 13 percent ? in reading scores at the third grade level. He believes that’s due to using a new program called “Reading Rocks,” used last year. It served mostly kids in grades 1-3, with most intensive instruction in grade 3. A language arts specialist has also been hired for grades 4-6 this year.

“We’re hoping to see the same kind of jump with the upper grades,” O’Riley said.

“You wanted to see improvement in test scores,” Minick told the board, “and the way to do that is to target kids who are not quite meeting (standards). This year, we’re targeting all those kids that (are not). We’re giving extra time and attention ? giving them hopefully what they need.”

Kucharz noted that for the past three years, every student that didn’t meet certain test scores have received additional instruction.

Board member Andrew Larson asked if targeting lower test scorers comes at the cost of not challenging higher-scoring students. Kucharz said he didn’t believe so. He pointed to certain high school classes as examples.

“The nucleus of a good program is here. The problem is not everyone buys into it,” he said.

Minick praised the district teaching staff and administration for their hard work in educating Galva students.

“These guys are serious,” he commended.

?Minick reported that Galva School District has achieved Adequate Yearly Progress status under the No Child Left Behind program.

“I’m quite proud of the district for that,” Minick said.

?Substitute teachers will be hired occasionally in the junior-senior high school this year so teachers can get together and discuss curriculum and teaching practices.

“We’re going to give our teachers two or three opportunities to get together and make sure nothing’s being missed,” Kucharz said.

“By doing this, we’re saying to teachers this is important,” Minick added.

?The board expressed concern about Black Hawk East College applying a $25 fee to each class high school students take at BHE. The fee could reduce the number of GHS students taking classes under the dual-credit system between the high school and BHE.

“I think if it’s any way affordable for the district, we probably ought to pay the $25 fee,” Kucharz said. “And we probably ought to negotiate with Black Hawk.”

?Petitions for persons seeking election to the board will begin to be available on Oct. 28. Four seats on the board are expiring in April 2009. The seats are currently held by Gary Edmonds, Darcy Jeffries, Andrew Larson and Terri Jo Russell. No announcement of their intentions has been made. Election is in April 2009.

?The board will hold a retreat at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 3.