By June Conner
For the Star-Gazette
A special meeting of the District 15 Board of Education Monday night focused on the lack of State Aid's effect on the local school budget. While it seemed the number one target was Brick School, other areas including sports were discussed.
Superintendent Reggie Clinton presented a power point with projections over the next three years. The 2013-14 school year began with a surplus in the Education Fund of $2,900,000. Clinton's projection showed a million dollar deficit at the end of 2017 with no funds available to cover the short fall. He stated that there is no certainty that the projects from the state are correct and that each one per cent the state goes down, the district looses $75,000. The current school year will see the State Aid prorated at 89%. Clinton's figures for the next years are based on 85%, however he said it could be as low as 80%. Clinton said,"It's not anything anyone in this room has done. It's all done in Springfield."
Board member Jack Fearneyhough presented his ideas on power point which included but not limited to closing Brick School, doing away with some Middle School extra cirrucular activities and some positions in the district. Fearneyhough said, "There is no victory. What we have is a problem and we need a solution. We don't have new homes going up. We don't have new industry. This is the consequence of the economy of the State. There is nothing we can do that doesn't affect families. We have to figure out how to do more with less."
Jo Lehmkuhl, Beardstown Education Association representative, spoke, "We should strive to be one and be open to all suggestions. It should not be us vs. them."
There were a number of concerned parents from Brick School speaking out about concerns of larger class sizes, fifth graders being put into Middle School, and the future of the building.
Tara Hobrock, representing Brick School PTO said,"We are going to do whatever we can to keep our school open."
There was a question about accomodating more students at lunch with it being served now from 10:20 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Clinton responded that possibly only one meal would be offered and no ala carte, or the option of the student bringing a sack lunch to move along the process.
Two board members, Tony Brake and Don Schaefer, both spoke out against closing Brick School. Schaefer said,"I won't vote for closing it (Brick). You can't cut your way out."
The decision will be made at the regular Board of Education meeting on February 26.