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Local

Balanced budget reviewed by school board members

Sandra Malahy
Superintendent, Lostant Grade School
Sandra Malahy Superintendent, Lostant Grade School

LOSTANT — The Lostant School Board reviewed the district’s budget as a step in preparation for the coming year and has found that its finances look promising.

“We have a balanced budget with a little bit of surplus,” Superintendent Sandra Malahy said. “More revenue than I plan on spending in expenditures.”

She described the financial situation as being “always a good way to start.”

The district’s recent preliminary audit found no major issues. “Preliminarily, they said everything looks good,” Malahy said of the findings.

The results did lead, however, to some changes in what the levy will look like. The district is expected to levy nothing in IMRF, opting instead to beef up Social Security.

One developing situation the district is watching involves Illinois Senate Bill 2892, which would increase the minimum salary rate for teachers.

“Personally, I’m not opposed to paying our teachers more. I’d love to pay our teachers more,” said Board President Mike Phillips. “The problem is, we don’t get enough funding for it from the state.

“This bill comes with a mandate and zero dollars to go with it,” he said.

The bill was sent to the governor on June 28, after which he has a 60-day period to sign or veto it before it automatically becomes law. As of last week’s school board meeting, no action had been taken.

In other discussion, the district has received an offer to buy the unused portion of the girls’ softball field, but has decided not to sell at this time.

“I think, for the district, you keep it together. You sell it all rather than subdivide it,” said Bob Lawless, board vice president, suggesting that the whole area of land would be worth more if the district ever did need to sell. He also suggested that such an act should go to the district for a vote.

Malahy agreed with the general sentiment.

“My first reaction is do not sell the property unless we need to or have good reason to sell both parts at the same time,” she said.

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