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No school closures for P-L-T

Board to vote Monday on consolidating grades

PROPHETSTOWN – P-L-T will not be closing any schools.

Closing the elementary school in either Tampico or Prophetstown by 2021 was among the options Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico School District officials were considering.

Instead, board members will vote Monday to consolidate grades and turn schools into attendance centers, Superintendent Chad Colmone said Monday.

Tax hikes still are being considered, but a decision on that will not be made this month.

The number of students, teachers – and along with that, revenue – has declined in recent years. Board members this summer came up with eight options to consider to combat the loss; school closures were involved in five of them.

The original attendance center plan would have moved pre-K through first grade to Prophetstown Elementary, and second through fifth grade to Tampico Elementary. The board has heard from parents asking for changes, though, concerned that some students would wind up attending multiple schools in a 3-year span.

The subsequent reduction in staff would save about $251,000 a year – $141,000 in staff and possibly $110,000 more for an elementary principal.

“That’s what we’re looking at now,” Colmone said. “We won’t know exactly how they’ll look, but we’ll have a vote to move forward in that direction.”

Either closure option would have saved the district about $338,000 in staff salaries, plus $40,345 in utilities if Tampico closed, or $47,515 if Prophetstown closed. 

Property tax hikes also are being considered. One proposal would raise property taxes 37 cents per equalized assessed value, which would raise $380,000 more a year for the education fund, from which salaries are paid; that would mean $129.50 more a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.

The other calls for a 23 cents per EAV hike, which would raise $234,600; an increase of $80.50 for a $100,000 home. 

If the district goes either route, voters would be asked to OK the increase on the April ballot.

A referendum decision will come with the advice and approval of a new board member. Anna Reynolds will resign on Aug. 31, and will move away from the district, Colmone said.

Reynolds, who tendered her notice last week, was one of three new board members elected in April. Her replacement, to be named at the board’s Sept. 30 meeting, will face election to an unexpired 2-year term in 2021. 

“There will still be plenty of details to be agreed upon, regardless of which option is chosen, and the new member of the board will be an integral part in making those decisions,” Board President James Melton said.

Applicants must live in Whiteside County and within district boundaries. Applications for the open board position, qualification requirements, and a questionnaire with essay questions are available at plt3.org, and are due by 3 p.m. Aug. 30. 

Next meeting

The P-L-T School Board board next meets at 6:30 Monday at the district office, 79 Grove Street.

An agenda will be posted on the district website, plt3.org, by the end of this week.

Call 815-537-5101 for more information.

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