Monmouth, IL – The Monmouth-Roseville school district is going forth with some provisions outlined in its deficit reduction plan. The school board has agreed to send letters to neighboring districts to see if they'd be open to consolidation.
Superintendent Paul Woehlke says this exploration does not mean further consolidation is a done deal -- research into the benefits must be completed first, especially considering the state's financial situation.
"The governor had put district consolidation as one of his top strategoc objectives for education," he says. "But on the other hand, he's proposed a cut in state funding for such incentives."
Woehlke says the district won't know what kind of incentives will be available until the budget picture becomes clearer. Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn in a few weeks, but its unclear if they'll be ready to pass a balanced budget by then.
No matter the budget situation, consolidation would provide at least some money to the districts, which Woehlke says could come in handy.
"It's an opportunity for us to perhaps expand and enhance our district curriculum while at least temporarily getting incentive funding from the state for consolidation," says Woehlke.
Incentive money from the Monmouth-Roseville merger in 2005 runs out this year, which Woehlke says is part of the reason the district is in such bad shape financially at present. Monmouth-Roseville's Deficit Reduction Committee spent several months developing a plan to save $1.5 million dollars, which was approved by the board last month.