Parents of students in the Bismarck-Henning school district were notified on July 19 that the district may not be able to reopen after Christmas break if the state doesn’t start paying its obligations. A letter from Supt. Scott Watson was sent to parents and posted on the district web page, www.bismarck. k12.il.us. In it, Watson said the district received not quite $2.8 million, $190,000 less than it was to receive. There is currently no school funding budget for the current school year, which began July 1 and BismarckHenning has only enough reserve funds to remain open for the first semester. “There is really only 1 option at this time if there is no School Budget Funding; (1) open the doors in August and run until the money runs and we go broke, then we close our doors,” Watson wrote. State money makes up almost 34 percent of the district’s total revenue, providing 45 percent of the education fund and 42 percent of the transportation fund. Watson wrote that the state must enact a school funding budget with adequate funds for the upcoming year but that legislators are deadlocked on a funding bill passed by both the House and Senate - SB1 - that would send $500 million to Chicago public schools. “This means less money down state school, therefore the Governor says he will veto it,” Watson wrote. “The toxic climate at the Capital often leads one to avoid getting involved. Yet, as taxpayers and as citizens who are concerned about the health and future of the state, now is the time to be engaged,” he wrote to parents, urging them to contact Sen. Jason Barickman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rep. Tom Bennett (email@example.com) to let them know residents’ feelings about the “current state of our state.” Meanwhile, he wrote, he and Bismarck-Henning’s board will monitor the situation closely and are “committed to doing everything we can to continue the outstanding educational services that your child deserves, and are committed to serving our school community.”
An ordinance approved 7-0 by the Hoopeston City Council allows for the hiring of part time officers and also changes how future police chiefs will be hired. Once hired, part time officers may be used to fill in for such things as vacations and when full time officers who also serve in the military are on their military duties, said Ald. Brandon Hamilton, police committee chairman, at Tuesday’s Hoopeston City Council meeting. Part time officers will supplement the department as “a helping hand,” he said. Part time officers will be hired by the police chief, with the advice and consent of the council. They must be at least 21 years old, have proper training, and be able to pass medical, psychological and physical agility tests. The ordinance also changes who will hire future police chiefs, moving the duty from the Hoopeston Board of Police Commission to the mayor, with the advice andconsent of the council. Hoopeston police chiefs had been hired by mayors until the mid– to late 1970s, when hiring was moved to the police commission. The change was recommended by the city’s attorney for police matters, Hamilton said. Ald. Bill Goodwine was absent from the meeting and so did not vote. In related business, Hamilton said Sgt. Jim DeWitt has been named acting chief, following the death of Police Chief Mark Drollinger on July 6. A moment of silence was held for Chief Drollinger. “The community has really suffered a loss,” said Mayor Bill Crusinberry. In unrelated business, the council: Unanimously approved an ordinance to sell the former Essex Building, listed at 325 N. Dixie Hwy. Approved the annual appropriations ordinance. Heard from Ald. Alex Houmes that new playground equipment is being installed at Northside (Cheese) Park. Heard from Crusinberry that the city’s former mister for mosquito abatement has been located and two parks employees have volunteered to become certified to use it. No action was taken.
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