School finances still in good shape

With two months left in the current fiscal year, the Vandalia School District continues to be in a good financial position.
“We still have positive balances in all of our funds,” Superintendent Rich Well said about the financial report presented at last week’s Vandalia Board of Education meeting.
“With May and June left (in this fiscal year), we are where we need to be at this point,” Well said. “We are hitting our benchmarks, and our finances look good, considering that we are not getting all of the state funds we should be getting.”
At this point, revenues in the district’s education fund total $10,511,854, which represents 82 percent of the $12.857-million budget.
Expenditures in that fund are totaling $9,295,846, which is 72 percent of the $12,939,670 budget figure.
In the transportation, revenue totals $577,371, or 75 percent of the budgeted total. Expenses in that fund total $415,649, or 56 percent of budget.
One reason that the district still has a good financial picture, despite the failure of the state to pay its mandated monies, is because district officials have designated cuts, and staff members have done a stellar job of implementing that budget.
“We did cut some more in our supplies budget, for offices, athletics, band and chorus, and so forth,” Well said.
“We trimmed back a few things, but things that affect students we have not, such things as books and technology items,” he said.
While district officials have decided to make cuts in some areas, they are committed not to slashing budget funds in other areas.
“We have made a conscious decision to stay up to date as we can in areas such as books, technology and transportation,” he said.
The board’s approval of a bus purchase at last week’s meeting is one indication of that.
“We have decided that we will stay as up to date in transportation, even though state transportation funds have been cut, because we believe that’s the best way to go financially,” Well said.
Not purchasing buses on a regular basis, he said, can lead to some high costs that come from using buses that are getting some age on them.
“You can either take care of a smaller bill now or take on a bigger bill (from maintenance) later on,” he said.
Also at last week’s meeting:
• The board approved the resignations of LeAnn Rubin, as co-sponsor of the fifth- and sixth-grade student council, and Lori Johnson, health occupations instructor at the Okaw Area Vocational Center.
• The board approved a maternity leave for Maggie Abendroth of Vandalia Jefferson Primary School.
• The board approved cooperative agreements with Vandalia Christian Academy for athletics.
• The board approved the honorable release of all non-teaching coaches in the district: Joe Schaal, eighth-grade boys basketball; Jane Bell, assistant high school volleyball, seventh-grade volleyball and high school boys track; Mark Johnson, sixth-grade boys basketball; Jenna Lester, high school football and basketball cheerleading; Mark Sasse, high school football and basketball cheerleading; Allison Brown, high school volleyball; Amber Daulbaugh, high school basketball assistant; and Matt Shroyer, high school assistant wrestling.
• The board approved the $79,250 bid of Central States for a 71-passenger Blue Bird bus.
• The board approved a resolution accepting student teachers from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
• The board approved the employment of three teachers: Darin Dugan, auto body class at Okaw Area Vocational Center; Kimberly Jaoko, art classes at the high school and vocational center; and Hope Nottemeyer, high school language arts.
• In his report, Well reported that baccalaureate at the high school will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, and that graduation will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. The last teacher day in the district is Wednesday, June 1.

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