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West complains of lack of funding info from state

Updated: February 25, 2013 12:46PM

AURORA — Uncertainty about general state aid reductions is presenting a challenge for the 2013-2014 budget process in the West Aurora School District.

This week, school officials said they have not yet received definitive information on state funding that could have a “significant impact” on the district.

“I am concerned from a timing standpoint,” School Board President Neal Ormond said.

“We may not have these numbers until May at the earliest, yet we have to make decisions about next year’s budget well before that.”

Ormond said the district needs to begin planning in order to have a dialogue with the community in setting priorities. “We cannot wait for the state to get back to us with the final answers,” he said.

Board member Angela Smith said she has an issue with the state continuing to target general state aid.

“Through this process we need to encourage our taxpayers to voice their displeasure because it is going to hurt our district more than it will hurt higher property wealth districts,” Smith said.

“For the state to continue to keep squeezing GSA and hurting poorer districts more than they are hurting richer districts that have larger fund balances and do not rely on general state aid does not make sense. It is not proportionally impacting districts and that is really not fair,” she said.

West Aurora Chief Financial Officer Christi Tyler said from fiscal years 2011 to 2012 fund balances have dropped 27 percent.

“We are starting to dig into those fund balances,” Tyler told the School Board.

Superintendent James Rydland said the district will review the status of the collection of local fees. “We should seriously show how much has not been collected,” Rydland said.

In other action, a middle school team talked about the need for setting aside time for student intervention and teacher collaboration as part of the school day.

“We understand money is tight, but we are the only level currently without the time for student intervention and teacher collaboration,” Herget Middle School Principal Rachel Hattendorf said.

About 30 middle school teachers attended the meeting. “All the teachers are here for the kids,” she said.

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