Charleston Community Unit School District No. 1 releases education board meeting details
Members of the Charleston Community Unit School District No. 1 board of education met Wednesday, July 27.
Here are the meeting minutes as provided by the Charleston Community Unit School District No. 1 board of education:
Charleston Community Unit School District No. 1 Board Education, July 27 Minutes
The Board of Education of Community Unit School District No. 1, Coles and Cumberland Counties, convened for a Board of Education/District Administration Retreat on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 6:00pm at the Administration Building – 410 West Polk Avenue, Charleston, IL 61920.
Note: The Special Meeting was originally scheduled for July 13, 2016, but had to be rescheduled due to severe storms and power outage.
At 6:00pm, President Ron Miller called the meeting to order and asked Secretary Daniels for roll call.
The following board members were present:
Ron Miller, President Charles Jarrell, Vice President Susan Daniels, Secretary Kelly Miller, Treasurer Scott Clarke (arrived at 6:03pm) Kevin Oakley
The following board member was absent:
The following Central Office staff was present: Jim Littleford, Superintendent Todd Vilardo, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dean Keller, Financial Consultant
Visitors 0 and 0 Members of the Press
CUSD #1 Administration in Attendance:
Trevor Doughty Tim Keefe Chad Burgett Brad Oakley Brandon Miller Rob Ulm Patti Murphy Mary Ann Pattenaude
The following were absent:
Kristen Holly Cathy Chaplin
Also in attendance: Howie Crouse of the PMA Financial Network and Anne Noble of Stifel Nicolaus.
Under public comments and written communications, President Miller asked if there were any comments, questions or written communications. There were no requests for the Board of Education.
Mr. Littleford stated that the purpose of the special meeting was for the Board of Education and CUSD #1 Administrative Team to convene into a retreat/workshop to continue ‘Charting Our Course,’ for the future of Charleston CUSD #1. He stated that the most difficult challenge of all of the district goals has revolved around district finances. Through a power point presentation, Mr. Littleford reviewed the challenges that the district has been facing since funding from the State has been unpredictable. He commended the CEA and ESP unions stating that they have worked with the district to keep salary increases down and move away from self-funded insurance. He also acknowledged the Trojan Booster Club, the Charleston Charitable Foundation, and City of Charleston for their support in funding projects for Charleston CUSD #1.Because of the massive debt in Illinois, Mr. Littleford stated that all Illinois school districts will need to find ways to be less reliant on State of Illinois Revenue. He reviewed possible revenue enhancements that included a tax rate referendum or County School Facility Occupation Tax (the 1% sales tax). At that time, Mr. Littleford introduced Howie Crouse of the PMA Financial Network to explain the process of moving forward with a tax rate referendum and to answer any questions from the Board of Education.
Mr. Crouse explained the provisions of a tax rate referendum in a PTELL District. He indicated that the ballot question would ask voters for approval to use special Operating Tax Rate – Overriding limits on how tax cap’s work. He did state that this process was difficult to explain to the tax payers. An example provided was, if there was a tax rate increase of $.10, to a $150,000 home, it would equal a $50.00 increase in the owner’s property taxes.
There was confusion over the tax rate once the Referendum years are up – does the rate revert back? Mr. Crouse explained that the rate does not revert back, the amount extended stays in place.
Moving to the next presentation, Anne Noble of Stifel provided a power point presentation to update the Board of Education on the process to pursue another County School Facility Occupation Tax. Ms. Noble reviewed what would be taxed and will not be taxed; uses for revenue of sales tax; how this would be a benefit to property taxes; and, revenue distribution. She indicated that the tax revenue can only be used for facility improvements – anything related to capital improvements.
Mr. Keller reported that over the past 10 years, CUSD #1 averaged $343,000/year in Health/Life Safety spending that could be paid for from the 1% sales tax. Last year, the district spent over $306,000 from the Operations and Maintenance Fund that could be covered by the 1% sales tax.
Ms. Noble reported that the revenue from the 1% sales tax is distributed equally for every pupil who lives in the county and attends public school, regardless of the location of that school. Real revenue distribution is based on actual enrollment in the County as certified to the Regional Office of Education each fall.
Ms. Noble explained the process of placing the County School Facility Occupation Tax on the ballot and timeline for the November 2016 and April 2017 elections. She stressed the importance of Charleston and Mattoon working together to pass the tax.
Mr. Vilardo stated that in conversations with the Mattoon CUSD #2 administration, they planned to move forward to approve a Resolution at their August 9, 2016 board meeting to place the County School Facility Occupation Tax on the November 8th ballot.
Discussion ensued regarding pro’s and con’s with scenarios of Tax Rate Referendum vs. the County School Facility Occupation Tax.
The building principals presented facility improvements that their buildings were in need and brought forward points which included:
- Upkeep on older buildings to include roof replacement, leaks in buildings, parking lots needing repaired,
overcrowding, and technology infrastructure replaced. They also talked about:
- the importance of upgrades in bringing families to Charleston; - newer schools attract more industry; - HVHC upgrades – better environment, better test scores.
President Miller asked for a straw vote from the Board of Education, to see if there was support in placing the County School Occupation Tax on the November 8, 2016 election ballot. All members present were in favor. He then asked the CUSD #1 Administrative Team if they were in support of the tax to be placed on the November 8 ballot. All administrators present were in favor.
Discussion ensued regarding strategies to present information to the community.
Mr. Littleford confirmed that he would prepare the resolution to be approved by the Board of Education at the August 17, 2016 regular board meeting. Following adoption of the Board of Education, the Resolution will need to be certified by the County Clerk no later than August 31 to be placed on the November 8 ballot.
Mr. Littleford thanked Mr. Crouse and Ms. Noble for attending the meeting.
At 8:08pm, Dr. Clarke moved to adjourn from the board meeting. Mr. Jarrell seconded the motion.
On roll call:
AYE: Clarke, Jarrell, K. Miller, Oakley, Daniels, R. Miller NAY: none Motion carried
Ronald L. Miller President, Board of Education Susan Daniels Secretary, Board of Education
Organizations in this Story
410 West Polk Avenue
Charleston, IL - 61920
410 W Polk Ave
Charleston, IL - 61920-2557