Dear Moline School District No. 40 Parents and Community Members,
Last evening the Board of Education approved a revised high school and middle school scheduling model which will result in a reduction in staff of 17 full-time equivalent teachers. Over the past decade, district ACT scores have risen 2.75 times the state average, with its average composite score rising to 21 from 18.7. The administration is confident that last evening's action will not have an adverse impact on student achievement. However, high school students will not have the opportunity to take as many elective credits prior to graduation as under the current model. In the new schedule, all students will take six courses. Students in band, choir, engineering, and World Languages (with some possible exceptions), will be allowed to take a seventh course. This action is expected to save the district at minimum, $750,000 annually.
In a separate action, the Board approved a joint resolution calling for withdrawal from the Blackhawk Area Special Education District effective beginning the 2014-15 school year. At that time, we anticipate that the majority of the students who are currently housed at Blackhawk Center will be served within the district. District officials are developing a transition plan and will be in contact with individual families in the very near future. Moline School District No. 40 will continue to provide high quality services to these students at a significantly reduced cost. It is anticipated that this move will save the district nearly $1 million annually.
These decisions were necessitated by the fact that this year the district faces a $2 million deficit in the Education Fund, which is expected to grow to approximately $3 million next year due a loss in Equalized Assessed Valuation in Moline. Additionally, the district is uncertain what will happen at the State and Federal levels regarding pension legislation and sequestration of Federal funds (the so-called "Fiscal Cliff"). Further compounding the problem is the fact that the district will lose $150,000 in tax revenue if the Governor does the expected and signs a bill exempting Elliott Aviation from paying property taxes. The district will also lose another $225,000 in local revenue if South Park Mall wins its appeal of its assessment, which is also expected to transpire. The district faces these challenges despite the fact that it reduced its expenditures by approximately $4 million from its 2011-12 budget, with over $2 million of that savings coming from negotiated agreements with local bargaining units that included a hard freeze on salaries and concessions on benefits.
Budget discussions will continue into the spring of this year. The goal of the district is to correct the structural deficit in the budget to provide for a healthy and sustainable district future that can continue to provide high quality educational opportunities for students for many years to come.
Dr. David Moyer