The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Illini West Board Reviews 2019-20 Budget

by Joy Swearingen, Quill correspondent

The Illini West High School district board saw the tentative 2019-2020 year budget at their meeting Aug. 21. A hearing on the budget is at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18, at the start of the September board meeting.

Superintendent Kim Schilson noted that spending exceeds revenue in the education fund in this budget because of hiring several new teachers. However carry-over fund balances keep the district in a good financial position.

"This is the perfect scenario, if you can hire these younger teachers, while you still have the experienced teachers on staff. You have really good teachers to mentor them," Schilson said.

She explained that higher spending in the building fund was to keep the classrooms updated.

"These young teachers are coming out of college and have been accustomed to using technology all their lives," she said. She cited cases where new, younger teachers were helping older teachers make the best use of technology.

The budget is available for public viewing at the Illini West district office and comments are welcomed at the hearing.

Principal Scott Schneider reported the successful beginning of school. He said that.of the 31 full/part time faculty, 12, or about 40 percent, are in their first to fourth years of teaching.

Nine teachers took advantage of the Teacher Academy held for new teachers in June. Three returning teachers took it for a second time. All new teachers work with a mentor from the experienced staff.

Dean of students Jim Short led the staff in two hours of school safety training on ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate).

There will be several drills for students in September on fire evacuation, bus evacuation, tornado safety and lockdown.

The board approved giving a $50 voucher to each staff member to buy Illini West gear from the IW Sports Boosters.

Schilson talked with the board about Capital Development funding bill that was passed. She said a committee has been formed that will report to the governor next March, and the governor is to give his guidelines in July.

"What is in those guidelines will make a difference," Schilson said. There may be rules on where a school facility can be built, the percent of the project that will be covered by CD funds, the timeline for proceeding, and whether a local referendum must be passed before the CD grant money is given.

"It is going to take a year or more to build up enough money in the fund to start making grants," Schilson said.

"The board will have to make a decision this fall if you want to run a referendum in the spring, with all these unknowns."

Following closed session, the board hired retired teacher, Deb Murphy, as a part time math teacher, and David Mueller as math team sponsor. They accepted the resignation of Lindsey Phillips as attendance secretary.

In other business, the board: