The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

IW School Board Keeping Within Budget

Joy Swearingen, Quill Correspondent

The Illini West High School district is overall “.. in excellent financial condition,” based on the Mid-Year Financial Report, presented to the district board at their regular meeting Jan. 17.

The report is meant to show the board how the district is doing in the middle of the budget year, and give them data they need to make informed financial decisions for the rest of the year.

The report included information on current budget status, a financial profile, per pupil spending, revenues, expenditures, fund balance history, historical tax rate, and comments by the superintendent.

“Previous superintendents did a good ob of putting the district on strong financial footing, and it remains there,” said Illini West Superintendent Jay Harnack.

In the report, Harnack gave several factors for the board to consider.

“This is the last year for pandemic-related funding,” he noted. “It will take a year or two to re-norm budgets after this occurs.

“Labor shortages are impacting wages and benefits,” he added. “Inflation and supply chain issues will continue to impact the current and next budget cycle, if not longer.”

Illini West has received “recognition” status with the top 4.0 rating. This is based on the fund balance to revenue ratio, fund balance to expense ratio, cash on hand, short term borrowing and long term debt.

The entire report is available on the website.

Following an executive session, the board approved a motion for dismissal and nonrenewal of contract for drivers education teacher, David Kasper. Present with Kasper in the session were Illini West union president, Jessica Knicl, and a regional IEA Uniserve director.

A three-year lease to Matthew Swanson was approved, to farm property owned by the district. The property includes 54.2 acres in Durham Township in the northern part of the district. Swanson was the previous lease holder.

The proposed calendar for the 2024-2025 school year was approved. The first day of student attendance will be Wednesday, Aug. 21. The last student day, if no emergency days are added, would be a half day on Wednesday, May 22, 2025. Harnack said the schedule starts somewhat later than is normal, but is set to coordinate with IHSA schedules. Because of the later start, the emergency days are placed at the end of the school year. Harnack and superintendents of the three elementary school districts work to align their schedules as much as possible.

Harnack said planning has begun on the spring window installations. He met with an agent from Veregy in January to create a schedule for putting the windows into place.

Principal Amanda Congdon reported there would be a full school assembly on Jan. 23 about social media awareness, presented by ISP Public Information Officer Trooper Jason Wilson.

She said staff is working on rescheduling games and activities that were postponed due to weather. Congdon praised Grant Suprenant for working with rescheduling and keeping everyone aware of the frequent changes.

Second reading of board policy updates was approved.