Prior to taking action on the bus contract, the board first heard from Greg Kubitz, senior financial advisor with Prudent Management Association, who gave a PowerPoint presentation regarding the district’s financial forecast for the next five years.
Kubitz explained the financial forecast is made up of several variables, which include things such as five years worth of audit reports, the 2013 budget, tax levy and extension information, maximum tax rates, enrollment and staffing ratios, all of which are used to examine what the district’s fund balances will look like.
According to Kubitz, the 2013 budget is $17.8 million and out of that amount, about 44% of the revenue comes from general state aid, which he said could become a significant factor for the school district as state funding continues to shrink.
In the area of expenditures, the biggest cost for the district remains salaries and benefits, and other costs include healthcare and dental.
While showing the figures to the board, Kubitz pointed out that the enrollment over the next five years would remain flat. He went on to say that the model indicates in 2013 the district will have a little bit of a surplus, but in future years, the surplus would be depleted and the deficit would grow, potentially landing the district on the state’s financial review watch list.
The figures indicate that for the 2013-2014 school year Unit One could potentially be in the red about $500,000. Hatfield said in an interview Tuesday, Unit One would likely need to find $500,000 to $800,000 in savings in order to break even in the next school year.
Following the financial presentation, the board moved to public comments and addressing the board was Alan Sharrah the regional operations manager of Illinois Central School Bus, who emphasized to the board that even though Illinois Central is higher than the low bidder, the numbers Illinois Central submitted to the board are “the real numbers.”
He went on to indicate to the board if it voted to accept the low bid, the district may not be able to sustain the same level of bus service it currently has.
“Do you realize that is the same thing B&S Bus Service was saying about you all five years ago?” said Hatfield.
Also speaking out was Art Long, of Metropolis, who explained he is the grandfather of children who attend Unit One schools, a taxpayer as well as a bus driver. Long asked the board where it would make the cuts. He said the safety of the students should be one of the most important factors but also emphasized that bus driver salaries are important.
Long pointed out how there are seven attendance centers and told the board it needs to consider combining some schools.
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