District Budget and Finances Meeting March 2017 (Boring but important.)
1. Bond Restructuring
The District will be doing a bond restructuring for the 2007 bonds. There is currently a $17.5 million balance on the bonds, and the restructuring will free up $1 million when it is complete. The District is currently working to pay off $3.5 million on working cash bonds. They may re-issue these for $2 million to have some cash balance protection.
If you are not sure what working cash bonds are, here is a simple explanation of working cash and the bonds that are sold by the District to populate that account:
2. Evidence-based Financing
It appears that evidence-based financing for schools is stalled in the Illinois General Assembly at this time. Evidence based funding would help District 201 if implemented. Here is the wording of the proposal:
3. Transportation Services Acquisition
The District is still looking at a plan for acquiring First Student to provide transportation services in house.
From the Belleville News-Democrat:
On Monday night, Belleville District 201 officials told the school board they were still negotiating on possible changes to the district’s school bus services.
The district’s current transportation contract is coming to an end, so it has been exploring three options: extending that contract, offering the service itself or hearing proposals from other companies.
Last month, Assistant Superintendent Brian Mentzer said the district asked its transportation provider, First Student, Inc., for a proposal for a one-year extension of its current contract.
“Negotiations continue with First Student on a daily basis,” he said on Monday.
The district has also been working on the cost estimates of offering the service itself instead of contracting with a bus company, which would involve purchasing buses and employing drivers. Belleville District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman has said the two Belleville districts talked about joining forces to offer bus services. Both districts currently have a joint contract with First Student.
During its meeting Monday, the District 201 School Board approved a letter of intent to buy or lease the property at 2012 Mascoutah Ave. in Belleville, which is currently a First Student transportation facility. Mentzer said the letter doesn’t require the district to do anything, but it does allow school officials to negotiate the sale of the property with its current owner.
Superintendent Jeff Dosier said it gives the district more insight into its options.
“We don’t want to close any doors,” he said.
Kurt Schroeder, vice president of the board, abstained from the vote on the letter.
District 201 could have also asked for proposals from other transportation companies, but Mentzer said district officials haven’t pursued that route so far.
School board members have not yet been asked to make a final decision on any of the options for transportation services.
A cartoon featured on Feb. 13 showed marshals escorting the first black child into an all-white elementary school in 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, so that she would have the same educational opportunity as her white peers. Unproven voucher systems and charter schools will likely result in economic re-segregation of students by how much income their parents make, creating unequal learning opportunities using government tax dollars. If it wasn’t OK in the 1960s, it certainly shouldn’t be OK today, to have segregation in any form in schools receiving taxpayer dollars. Nothing has occurred in our nation since the 1960s that would justify such probable economic re-segregation.
Betsy DeVos, as depicted in the cartoon, was escorted through an alternate entrance to a D.C. public school to bypass protesters, most likely because of the previous two sentences. Protesters are fearful she will try to impose her unproven ideas about education on our country. The protesters were rejecting the economic re-segregation of schools based on the financial resources of well-off parents being combined with voucher money to send their children to more exclusive educational learning opportunities to the detriment of the children without those financial resources: defacto economic re-segregation of publicly funded education.
DeVos had the perfect platform to make the case for her views during her confirmation hearings. She did not. Why? Public schools cannot survive already stretched thin educational tax dollars being diverted to for profit schools, charter or otherwise. Involve all stakeholders in educational reforms please.
PRESIDENT, ILLINOIS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS LOCAL 434
BELLEVILLE FEDERATION OF HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
Proud alumnus, union member, and educator in District #201 since 2006.
Dr. Hentze is the author of High Finance with Hentze, a monthly blog that provides news about District 201's current financial state.