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Education fund still biggest concern for school district

Strategic planning branding could take form next week

Published: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

DIXON – The first of what will be many difficult budgetary discussions about schools took place Wednesday night.

During the Dixon School Board's regular meeting, Business Manager Dave Blackburn gave the board a proposed budget, which will be placed on file during a budget hearing at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17.

The education fund, which is the district's largest and pays for teacher salaries, educational program and other expenses, continues to big the biggest concern, Blackburn said, because of declining revenues.

In December, the board voted to close the Lincoln Elementary School building and re-assigned grades to the remaining buildings. It also reduced staff and cut about $50,000 from the athletic department to address budgetary concerns.

But the district will still face difficult budget decisions and discussions moving forward before a final budget is approved.

Board member Tom LeMoine said the education fund presents an immediate problem and wondered whether the board should consider a referendum to allow for more revenue from local taxes, while admitting that such referendums aren't easy sells to voters.

"We're up between a rock and a hard spot, the way that I see it," he said. "We can't make significant cuts. We don't have $3.5 million in working cash."

Brand name

On Monday, Amy Yurko, of BrainSpaces, is expected to announce the branding to be used for the district's strategic planning.

Possible branding ideas include: A Place to Grow; Dixon Direction; Pathways to Success; Vision to Victory; and Our Schools, Our Community.

A logo and website could also be announced Monday.

In June, the board hired Yurko to lead the strategic planning, which could result in a recommendation for a new building.

Next meeting

The Dixon School Board next meets at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, at school district's central office, 1335 Franklin Grove Road.

Go to www.DixonSchools.org or call the school district's central office at 815-284-7722 for an agenda or more information.

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