Woehlke Recommends Closing Roseville and Willits

Monmouth, IL – Monmouth-Roseville Superintendent Paul Woehlke says his deficit elimination recommendation late last week shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. But he offered painful cuts that the board is expected to consider at its meeting this week, when it could take action.

Woehlke offered a three tier plan to combat the district's financial troubles. First, he recommended closing Roseville and Willits elementary schools. He says the closures are an attempt to fix the district's structural deficit that existed even before Monmouth and Roseville consolidated. He says the district had been using consolidation incentives to make up for the shortfall, money which has since run out.

His next set of proposals would take effect should state funding for the next school year remain flat. He has proposed approximately $260,000 worth of various staff and program cuts, including some coaching and teaching positions.

The superintendent has also proposed a list of money saving options should the state reduce education funding next year. Such items include exploring further consolidation, or a county-wide one percent sales tax increase dedicated to education.

However, the Monmouth City Council last week approved a one percent hike to the city sales tax rate. Woehlke says that decision could complicate future district attempts to win voter approval of a county wide one percent sales tax increase.

He says there aren't many more revenue options for the district.

"The disappointing aspect of that is that our other option is to go after a property tax increase," says Woehlke. "People in general seem more willing, or more inclined, to be supportive of a sales tax increase."

Woehlke says it would be in the board's best interest to take action at its Tuesday meeting. The district's deadline for informing tenured employees of its staff reduction plans is quickly approaching.