At about this time last year, the Duneland School Board approved a 2010
general fund that later was cut by about $4 million due to declining state
revenues. This year, the proposed 2011 budget reflects the new budget
reality that state funding for schools isn’t likely to improve next year --
and maybe not anytime soon.
The school board on Monday adopted four of the funds in its overall budget,
with the largest fund -- the general fund -- set at $35.8 million, an
increase of about $280,000 over what was ultimately approved for this year.
The total is about $4 million less than what the board originally adopted
for this year before the state funding cuts.
Duneland Superintendent Dirk Baer told the school board that the prospects
for increased state funding for the general fund do not look promising in
the next few years. The general fund covers operating costs such as salaries
The school board adopted the four funds without much discussion, having
reviewed the budgets in detail at previous board meetings. As Baer noted,
the board’s adoption was a formality, representing a “simple matter in a
very complicated issue.”
The board also approved a resolution giving Duneland administrators the
ability to make cuts if needed later at the state hearing.
The four budgets approved were: General fund, $35.8 million; debt service
fund, $8.9 million; pension bond debt fund, $1.6 million; and
transportation, $3.7 million. All of those are funded through local property
taxes, except for the general fund, which is now funded through the state as
part of comprehensive property tax legislation that became law in 2008. The
school board previously adopted other funds, such as the Capital Projects
School Board President Michael Trout said the budget adoption required a
great deal of work on the part of the administrators. “Your efforts are
appreciated,” he said.
Shortly after adopting the budget, the school board heard a report on summer
school, with the numbers reflecting a very real consequence of this year’s
Because the state is no longer funding summer school to the extent it used
to, Duneland nearly doubled its summer school fees, from $65 to $125. “The
program had to pay for itself,” said Duneland Assistant Superintendent Monte
Moffett, who noted that summer school was still provided at reduced or no
fees for students who qualified.
Total enrollment in summer school was 879, compared to 1,231, 1,239 and
1,230 in the previous three years. The enrollment was actually more in line
with what Duneland saw back in the 2004 summer school, with 881 students.
This year’s breakdown was: 209 students in grades K through 5, compared with
369 the year before; 47 students in grades 6 and 7, compared with 89 the
year before; and 569 students in grades 8 through 11, compared with 773 the
Despite the enrollment drop, Moffett said Duneland officials believe that
summer school is a valuable program and that having an enrollment of 879
students is still significant. Overall, he said, the summer program went
Baer also announced that the 2011 high school graduation ceremonies have
been moved up a day. Instead of a June 10 commencement, the ceremony will be
Thursday, June 9.
Baer said the move is to eliminate past problems of students who have a
conflict with graduation and athletic or academic competitions held on the
same day. He noted that other schools have also adjusted commencement
In the personnel report, the school board made two appointments: Katrina
Lewis as a Title I aide at Brummitt, and Sarah Lipniskis, a Bailly reading
The board also approved two maternity leaves: Brummitt fourth grade teacher
Pam Moore and Liberty Intermediate reading specialist Heather Lowe.
Also at Monday’s school board meeting, the board heard a presentation about
the Dibels program at Brummitt Elementary.
Teachers Betsy Kazmierczak, kindergarten, and Katie Curiel, second grade,
outlined the program, which is used in part to determine if students need
additional support through the Title I program. Students are monintored in
several different ways, including their ability to name letters, sound out
parts of words, and read nonsense words. In the math portion, some of the
assessments include determining which number is greater and which number is
missing in a pattern.
The assessments are given in grades kindergarten through second grade, with
different levels as the students progress.
Brummitt Principal Antonino Cammarata said his school is grateful for the
Title I grants, which have funded the remediation aides to help the students
who are struggling.
The school board also rescheduled its next meeting -- to Thursday, Nov. 4,
at which time the board will tour the newly completed addition at Liberty