Crestwood hears audit, levy reports

By Samantha Tucker samantha@prairiepress.net
Posted 11/16/20

Financial matters fed most of the discussion at the District 4 school board meeting Thursday, Nov. 12.

Jim Motley led the new business by announcing Unit 4’s audit had gone smoothly, and the …

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Crestwood hears audit, levy reports

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Financial matters fed most of the discussion at the District 4 school board meeting Thursday, Nov. 12.

Jim Motley led the new business by announcing Unit 4’s audit had gone smoothly, and the district was in good financial shape.

“It was a clean audit,” he said.

He then directed the board’s attention to an information packet showing Crestwood’s accounts are almost entirely positive. The school operates on a cash basis, he explained, which prevents liabilities in most funds. The only negative figures found were under retirement and Social Security funds.

“You were in the black in all funds except that one, and that was a small deficiency,” said Motley.

The board approved a tentative levy based on reports the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) is rising. The current EAV setting of $111,585,094 gives the school access to $4,254,768. Information from Edgar County Supervisor of Assessments Deena Hasler indicates the EAV is expected to increase, partly in relation to expansion at Effingham Equity.

Young emphasized the levy will not raise taxes and higher EAVs actually lower taxes overall. The levy is the amount of money the school can claim from existing property taxes as calculated by the EAV. Schools need to guess the totals of new EAVs and raise levies accordingly to guarantee they have access to all the tax revenue available to them.

The board also approved a resolution to abate some local taxes for bond payments. Young explained 25% of the district’s share of the 1% School Facilities Tax is going to pay off existing bonds. Using sales tax money this year will pay $62,000 toward the bond obligation and lower the tax rate by six cents.

risis Plan meeting was Oct. 15 via Zoom and brought good news to local first responders. Young said the discussion centered around Crestwood’s new security measures that include new exterior doors and the security key fobs for emergency personnel.

“Now in the event of an emergency, they can enter immediately,” Young said.

On the subject of safety, Young told the board social distancing has prevented fire and active shooter drills. She hopes in the spring either regulations will have relaxed, or the school will find alternate ways to hold drills.

“Hopefully in the spring we can teach the kids all these drills we are required to do,” Young said.

Crestwood received the State Report Card, which held no surprises since the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) decided to carry over the previous school year’s rating for all schools due to COVID-19’s disruption of grade and attendance records.

“Both our schools have been recognized again as commendable,” Young told the board.

Near the meeting’s end, Young announced Nov. 15 is School Board Member Day, thanking her fellow board members for their dedication.

“I know it’s kind of a thankless job sometimes,” she said. “Thank you all for everything you do for our staff and students.”

She also took the time to commend parents for rolling with contact tracing and child pickups this year, and teachers for working hard to provide education in the classroom and remote learning to their students.

The board also:

-Approved Katrina Strow as a volunteer coach.

-Accepted the resignation of Ashlyn Hays as a school cook effective Oct. 30.

-Hired Donna Land as a school cook.