By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — A proposal by Gov. Pat Quinn to make severe cuts to education — in both General State Aid and in transportation — have District 80 officials on edge.The General State Aid for schools is now at 89 percent, but the governor has proposed that amount may go as low as 80 percent for next school year."That's a severe amount, probably close to $1 million for us," said Superintendent Mike Green. "I know if it's 80 percent, it's going to be about $1.8 million, so 82 percent would put us right around $1 million."
The District has already lost over $1 million in state aid in the last three years.Green added, "What's concerning about Gov. Quinn's proposal is that he wants to go from 72 percent reimbursement for transportation down to 20 percent. There will be a lot of people talking between now and then about that, with an answer coming in May. If you take 20 percent from $1 million, that would give us approximately $200,000. Even though we're encouraging him to go to 80 or 82, that transportation cut is huge."Green said State Superintendent Chris Koch and some other education groups have asked Quinn to put General State Aid back to 100 percent, where districts were at three years ago. He also said District 80 budgeted 67 percent for transportation, and the district has received two payments for this school year.Green said the district may get a third payment of $150,000."We're supposed to get two, we hope to get three, but we only budgeted two," Green said.State aid financing took a back seat to a night of celebration at the District 80 administrative office though as two retiring board members — Craig Hedin and Steve Wallace — were recently recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education for their service. They were each given the opportunity to address a reception in their honor prior to Wednesday's Board meeting, and several people spoke in their behalf.Hedin and Wallace join two other members who served in their final board meeting. Plaques were also given to Rob Dyer and Jeff Campbell. Green also read the resolutions approved by ISBE.IN OTHER BUSINESS:n Green said a $5,000 donation from the Kiwanis Club, plus donations from the Student Council, a parent's organization and Beta Club will allow for new padding in the gymnasium at Casey Jr. High School to be purchased. Green said it is hopeful the padding can be ordered and installed in time for graduation.- Items from the consent agenda were approved, including a resolution to accept SIU student teachers.- The board approved a list of summer maintenance projects at an estimated cost of $88,000.- Bids were accepted by Security Alarm of Salem of $20,000 for a security system at Casey Jr. High School; and a bid of $170,000 for all communication systems at Casey, including telephones, pagers, cables, etc., was approved. The accepted bids are being funded through the District's Capital Fund Account, it was reported.