By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- The Pikeland School District's financial picture has board members pushing up the tax levy and pushing back life safety work at two buildings.
Board members Wednesday agreed to postpone window replacement work planned for this summer at Pittsfield High School and South Elementary School.
Postponing the work is a good option "with finances the way they are now," Superintendent Paula Hawley said.
The project, expected to cost around $800,000, is required health/life safety work at the buildings. The district does not have cash on hand to cover the project and will need to issue health/life safety bonds.
But Hawley said because the district already has replaced some window work at both buildings, it can shift additional work to the next life safety survey.
"We will do a new life-safety survey next year," Hawley said.
The district's outstanding life-safety bonds, used to fund work required by the 10-year surveys, will be repaid in December 2017.
"That will be a really good time to start doing these projects," Hawley said.
The board began discussing the window project in October and had planned to seek bids in January because of the long wait time involved in getting windows.
Board members also approved a $3,536,500 levy for taxes payable in 2013. The levy increased 4.4 percent, or roughly $149,000, over last year.
Most of the increase came in the education fund, "where we're not getting our money," Hawley said.
The levy seeks $1.9 million in the education fund, the maximum tax levy for the fund, Hawley said, but the levy decreased by about $30,000 for Social Security expenses because of the amount of cash on hand in the fund.
As of Wednesday, Hawley said the state owed the district $367,000 in several areas, primarily in the education fund which spent $400,000 more than it took in the past month.
Overall, the district is 42 percent of the way through the school year and has spent 48 percent of its budget, or without including a bond payment, "close to 42 percent," Hawley said. On the revenue side, the district has gotten 46 percent of the budgeted amount in the education fund.
In other action, Pikeland School Board members:
º Agreed to send a letter of application to join the Sangamo Conference for football only beginning in 2014. If accepted, Pikeland will replace Pawnee in the 10-school conference.
º Approved swimming as a self-funded extracurricular activity for the 2012-13 year. The move allows district swimmers to participate in Illinois High School Association activities. Swimming has been offered as a self-funded activity the past two years.
º Heard a reminder from Hawley that the board office will be closed Monday and Tuesday but open until 5 p.m. Dec. 26 for candidates to file for the School Board election.
º Learned the annual toy, food and clothing drive at Pittsfield High School helped 70 families. The PHS Student Council, with help from the Pikeland Community School Student Council and the community, sponsors the annual effort at the holidays.
º Heard a spotlight on the gifted program at PCS, taught by Ryan Benz and Todd Evans. Students qualify for the program based on test scores and meet once a week.