Well gives rundown on school finances

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By Dave Bell

With the district’s annual budget hearing pushed back to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, the Vandalia Board of Education on Tuesday dealt with a light agenda at its regular monthly meeting.
Superintendent Rich Well reported that the district “has a lot of money going out right now” in first-of-the-year expenditures, but he did note that the first installment of property tax revenues has arrived. Those revenues, however, came in after Sept. 1, so they were not reflected in the current financial statements for the month ended Aug. 31.
For instance, the education fund showed revenues of $1.2 million and expenditures of nearly $1.8 million. The building fund showed revenues of about $71,000 and expenditures of nearly $101,000.
A notable exception to that pattern was in the transportation fund, in which revenues of nearly $120,000 have been received, but only $40,130 has been spent.
Fund balances continue to allow the district to bridge the gap between the time of expenditures and the arrival of revenues.
At the end of August, the district’s surplus balance in its operating accounts was $3,144,651, while the total balance was $3,474,443.
“If we didn’t have fund balances, we’d be writing bad checks right now,” Well said.
“In these months, it’s important to have fund balances before we get tax revenues.”
Well also reported that a statewide advisory committee on education funding, created last spring in Senate Resolution 431, met on Tuesday in Springfield.
The group is chaired by Sens. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and David Luechtefeld (R-Okawville). The committee was formed to study the way General State Aid funding for school districts is allocated across the state.
“This group is looking to balance General State Aid funding, so that kids are not disadvantaged because of the where they’re born or where they live,” Well said. “It is seeking an equitable and adequate education funding system.”
He noted that the committee has been asked to make its recommendations about the state funding issues by Feb. 1, 2014.
With this being homecoming week at Vandalia Community High School, several related activities were noted by VCHS Principal Randy Protz.
The football game will start at 6:30 p.m. – 30 minutes earlier than normal. The homecoming dance will follow the football game, with the king and queen being announced at that time.
In another matter, Protz reported that 64 percent of this year’s VCHS seniors have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form – a significant jump from 22 percent the previous year.
That form is required in order to apply for financial aid from a variety of federal and state sources.
Vandalia Elementary School Principal Stacy South reported that VES was selected by the Vandalia Walmart as the local recipient of its Teacher Reward Program.
Last Friday, Walmart officials presented gift cards of either $50 or $10 to 24 randomly drawn teachers at VES, with those cards to be used to purchase classroom supplies at the store.
School board president Chris Palmer noted that the district’s website is now accessible by an easier-to-remember address: www.vandaliaschools.com. The previous address (www.vcs.fayette.k12.il.us) continues to be functional as well.
At the end of the meeting, the board took the following action:
• Approved a joint agreement resolution with Okaw Area Vocational Center for the 2014-15 school year.
• Approved the employment of Shelly Forys as the fifth- and sixth-grade student council sponsor.
• Approved maternity leave for Maggie Abendroth (a pre-kindergarten teacher), beginning about Oct. 16.