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Dixon School Board approves new textbooks

District looking at $400,000 loss for 2014

DIXON – The Dixon School Board responded Wednesday to a request from teachers and parents for upgraded textbooks.

During a teachers strike that canceled 9 days of classes last month, the district's need for textbooks was questioned.

Assistant Superintendent Margo Empen said she reached out to the district's five principals to meet with their staff and provide recommendations.

The district approved those purchases, which include advanced placement literature and Spanish I, II and III textbooks.

With Dixon City Engineer Shawn Ortgiesen making news for his misuse of a city credit card, Superintendent Michael Juenger noted the district's policy, which was put in place in 2009.

It states that credit and procurement cards can be used only for expenses that are for the district's benefit; they cannot be used for personal purchases. Receipts must be submitted.

The consequences for unauthorized purchases include, but are not limited to, reimbursing the charge, loss of cardholding privileges, and discipline up to and including discharge.

An immediate supervisor, business manager David Blackburn, who also is a city commissioner, and accounts payable personnel review the expenses.

The board also learned that the district projects about $100,000 less in local property tax revenues for 2014 because of declining property values. The district also projects it may lose about $400,000 in general state aid revenue, meaning the district is operating with about $3 million less revenue than in 2011.

Juenger said the administration is reviewing reassigning teachers and the board will vote on recommendations as soon as next month.

Also Wednesday, the board:

– Awarded a 3-year transportation contract to Illinois Central School Bus. Blackburn estimates the cost to the district will go up by about $29,000.

In a report to the board, Juenger said the district will be looking at cutting one route each year of the 3-year contract, and the number of special education routes in the first year to control costs.

– Approved a resolution that will allow it to use health, life and safety funds to pay for $2.8 million to $3 million in upgrades at Reagan Middle School that include windows, heating and asbestos work. The district levies about $175,000 annually to this fund.

This doesn't mean the board will use these funds, but it gives it the option to use them.

– Agreed to put an amended budget for 2013 on file at the May 15 board meeting; it will be finalized June 19.

– Renewed a 2-year lease with the Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education for $33,000 per year.

– Renewed a food management agreement with Arbor Management at a rate of $1.23 for breakfast and $2.08 for lunches. Arbor suggested the district increase lunch prices by about 10 cents.

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