Earlier in the month the district received notification from the Illinois State Board of Education that it was awarded the Early Childhood Grant. The district has posted an opening for an early-childhood teacher, which was vacated following the retirement of Bonnie Crim.
The board was also presented with the preliminary Joppa High School PSAE scores that were recently released.
Each spring the PSAE is given to all high school juniors throughout Illinois. Last year's reading and math scores were the school's highest in the past five years. The reading score increased 38 percent and the math score increased 24 percent from last year.
Being the first board meeting of the new fiscal year, Superintendent Steve Ptacek's monthly financial report included a summary of fiscal year 2012 and a preview of fiscal year 2013.
The district spent only 92 percent of its budgeted expenditures and received 105 percent of its budgeted revenues last year. The balance in the four operating funds increased by approximately $100,000 compared to June 30, 2011.
However, Ptacek updated the board on several political items that are threatening the district's economic stability. Due to the Illinois government's budget crisis and the state's growing Teacher Retirement System (TRS) obligations, the legislature has been considering adding an 8 percent TRS expense to all school districts for fiscal year 2013. If this happens, the district's TRS payments will increase by nearly $100,000.
Furthermore, last spring a House Bill was introduced to eliminate the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT). Fortunately, the bill never reached the floor. J-MG receives approximately 23 percent of its budget from CPPPRT.
The state also threatened to make substantial cuts in Guaranteed State Aid (GSA) and transportation funding.
In response to these threats, last March the board passed almost $150,000 in budget cuts.
At this time the legislature has not acted on any TRS changes.
“Governor Quinn has threatened to call everyone back to Springfield this summer to solve the pension issue, but most political analysts currently do not think that any action will take place until after the November elections,” said Ptacek. “The threat is still present, but it has been delayed.”
Ptacek informed the board that he is still very concerned that during next spring's session, the legislature will revisit eliminating the CPPRT fund.
“The largest cut did happen in GSA payments. Fortunately, state aid is not one of the larger revenue sources for JMG. The 11 percent cut in GSA will cost the district slightly more than $30,000. The state also did not make the drastic cuts to transportation that was feared,” added Ptacek. He predicts that the district will lose around $15,000 in transportation funds.
In other action, the board voted through consent agenda to re-establish the working cash fund, renew its Section 125 Plan agreement with American Fidelity, approved the annual notice of non-discrimination and approved the purchase of library books in memory of retired employees Donald Keller and Gloria Meyer.
The board also recalled Debbie Johnson as a part-time cook at Maple Grove and increased its substitute teacher pay by $5 per day.
The next board meeting is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 in the Joppa High School library.