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Vandalia School District on pace with budget

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By Dave Bell

After holding a public hearing and passing a tax levy increase for district taxpayers, the Vandalia Board of Education tackled a relatively light agenda for its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Superintendent Rich Well told the board that all local tax monies have been received for the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

“Those revenues are what we have to live on for the rest of the fiscal year,” he said. “So far, our expenditures are on pace with the budget.”

The one piece of the funding puzzle that is still uncertain is state aid. Well said that superintendents have been told to anticipate at least an 8-percent cut in revenues coming from the state. He told board members that the state is behind in its payments to the district for this fiscal year by $286,390. Last fiscal year, he said, the state shorted the district by $200,000 in payments it never made.

Well said he recently met with superintendents from three similarly sized districts in the area to share ideas about what the districts can do about state aid shortfalls.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board was given a preview of the new high school band uniforms. The black, red and white uniforms were purchased from the DeMoulin Brothers Co. in Greenville for $600 each – making a total purchase of $60,000 for 100 uniforms. Payment was split between the district (70 percent) and the band boosters (30 percent).

“They are sharp looking uniforms,” Well said. “The students are very excited about them.” Band members will wear the new uniforms when they perform at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., during the Christmas break.

The previous uniforms were 16 years old.

VCHS Principal Randy Protz told the board that the school’s emphasis on attendance has resulted in significant improvements in attendance. For instance, average attendance this October was 95.25 percent versus 92.81 percent last October, and this November was 93.84 percent versus 91.52 percent last November.

Protz also announced that the school has several Illinois State Scholars this year: Drew Bell, Scott Boas, Tessa Davison, Clinton Devall, Victoria Dokey, Braden Ehrat, Laura Hobbie, Shawna Marler, Austin Schukar, Blythe Smith and Kelsie Woodward.

The board voted to accept the bid from South Central FS for gas and diesel fuel for district vehicles during the coming calendar year. The price for gas was $2.11 per gallon and diesel was 2.58 per gallon.

Also approved was a $15,000 emergency Health, Life Safety expenditure to replace three rooftop heating units at the Okaw Area Vocational Center.

The board also accepted the resignation of Rhonda Phillips as one of three coaches for the VCHS soccer team.

And finally, the board approved a list of recognition guidelines for the VCHS gymnasium. Those guidelines will govern the display of pictures of VCHS student athletes who win individual or team state championships. Pictures of the 2008 4x400 girls state champion team will be displayed in a 32-inch by 48-inch frame and mounted on the white portion of the west wall of the gym, near the pictures of the wrestling team.

Pictures of individual state champions will be displayed in 20-inch by 30-inch frames on the lower red portion of the west wall.

Pictures of those past champions are being sought, and will be mounted as soon as they are secured and framed.

The Vandal Sports Boosters will pay all expenses for the photographs and frames.

“I’m pleased with the decision of the board to recognize these athletes,” said Teresa Durbin, who served on the committee. “Winning a state championship occurs very rarely, and we should honor those that do.”