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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Budget dominates Unit No. 3 School Board meeting again

  • Though the Unit No. 3 School Board only finalized the budget for the 2012-2013 school year Tuesday night, they are already looking at how to decrease the deficit in the coming years.
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  • Though the Unit No. 3 School Board only finalized the budget for the 2012-2013 school year Tuesday night, they are already looking at how to decrease the deficit in the coming years.
    Though there was much discussion on the matter, no decisions were made. Similarly, the board has still not finalized plans to renovate or rebuild the high school, though talk about the issue, including presentations from both District Architect Ed Kerkhover and financial consultant Tim King, took up more than an hour of Tuesday night's meeting.
    Board member Dean West seemed most concerned about the growing deficit and suggested cutting $500,000 out of next year's budget. Though he didn't get into specifics, West said he thinks the board needs to start looking at athletic programs.
    "Everything is on the table," said Superintendent Dennis Smith.
    The board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution authorizing the issuance of general obligation school bonds to be used for the high school, though they have not yet decided whether they are going to renovate all or parts of the current school or completely demolish it and start fresh with a new building.
    The board is also apparently looking into the possibility of a pre-engineered metal building for the new high school.
    The board also spent some time discussing last year's test scores and how they compare to state averages. There seemed to be general concern that the district is falling behind in math, though not everyone thinks test scores accurately measure a student's success in school.
    "These standardized tests are a snapshot on a given day," said Scott Dewar, Principal of East Side Intermediate and West Side Primary schools.
    Dewar, who was recently made principal at both schools, said he does not see this as a permanent solution as he doesn't feel he is meeting the the needs of teachers and students at either building.
    During the meeting:
    • The board accepted the resignations of Stephanie Brasher as an EOC Aide and Beverly Alvey as the middle school girls track coach.
    • The board accepted the retirement of Carolyn Henshaw as an early childhood teacher's aide, which will take effect at the end of this school year.
    • The board approved maternity leave for Valarie Hodges.
    • The board voted unanimously in favor of the expulsion of a high school student who apparently made a threat involving firearms.
    • Bryan Questelle was hired as the new middle school girls track coach.
    • The following people were hired as EOC aides in the district: Jennifer Cain, Lori Taber, Chris Hall, Jennifer Arman, Holly Markham, Angie Ackerman, Rita Niekamp, Cherie Webb, Aaron Abell and Kim Lightner.
    • The board approved Mike Hearn and Robin Newcomb as volunteer middle school cross country coaches.
    • The board approved a five-year extension of the high school's bowling program, funded by Doug Cottom.

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