By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON — —
The City Schools District 80 Board of Education voted to raise the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 levy by 4.899 percent.
The total amount the district will levy is projected to be $5.1 million, about a $240,000 increase over the extension in FY 2011-2012, which was about $4.9 million.
Because the increase is under five percent of the previous year’s levy, the board did not have to hold a Truth in Taxation hearing per Property Tax Extension Limit laws.
District 80 Superintendent Mike Green said that he had not received any calls about the school’s levy from the public.
District 80 Board of Education member Merle Hollmann said though the school’s upcoming levy by nature is based on guesswork, its guesswork is a “good job done.”
The projected tax increase is unlikely to soothe all of the district’s financial issues, as the state of Illinois continues a trend of not paying its bills to the schools.
Green said the state currently owes District 80 about $931,000, most of which is from the district’s pre-kindergarten grant.
“This is similar to last year’s pattern,” Green said. “We got the money in January for the pre-K grant last year.”
District 80 Assistant Superintendent Aletta Lawrence updated the board on the status of the district’s grants. She said the total grants received by District 80 decreased from $4.7 million to $4.1 million, but the $658,000 Illinois State Board of Education’s Children’s Low-cost Laptop Program Grant awarded in 2011 to the district inflated last year’s numbers.
The laptop grant the district received was the largest awarded through that program in 2011.
Entitlement grants increased by $300,000 this year, but competitive and collaborative grants decreased, she said.
Green said Zadok Casey Middle School is receiving recognition from the state for decreasing its numbers of disciplinary referrals through the PBIS program.
Teachers are being recognized for reducing the number of referrals from 43 percent to 26 percent, he said.
“That’s a significant decrease,” Green said. “The staff stepped up a lot. They used to have 1,500 referrals a year years ago, and there are about 500-ish now. It’s very positive, and good for the school and the district.”