Monmouth-Roseville Faces Harsh Budget Realities

Monmouth, IL – The Monmouth-Roseville school board was faced with tough choices at its meeting this week. The district's volunteer deficit reduction committee presented its recommendations following more than a dozen meetings over the past few weeks.

District 238 is currently faced with a $500,000 budget shortfall due to several factors, one of which is a lack of state money.

Deficit reduction committee chair Tim Tibbetts says committee members recommended the following options:

1. Approach a nearby school district to suggest further consolidation. Tibbetts says United would make the most sense. But he says as of now, there's no indication from United or any other school district that such a proposal would be attractive.

2. Impose a one percent county-wide sales tax to specifically fund education. Tibbetts says this idea is not an immediate fix because such an increase can not be implemented right away. He says a sales tax increase could be offset by a reduction in the property tax levy, which could lower a resident's overall tax bill.

3. Impose a salary freeze for all district employees.

4. Cancel some programs and terminate some positions.

5. If the state cuts funding to K-12 education by nine percent, nine out of fifteen committee members recommended closing Willits and Roseville elementary schools. Willits students, along with Roseville's K-3 students would move to Central. Roseville's 4th-6th grade students would move to Lincoln.

"The savings there were about $250,000... that can't really be ignored," says Tibbetts of the proposal to close Willits and Roseville. "There's potential for either renting [the buildings] out, or even selling them, which would mean even more savings."

The deficit reduction committee's recommendation would save the district about $910,000 should every suggestion be followed. The district will hold a public hearing on the proposals on Tuesday, March 2.