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Committee formed to look at financial concerns for Van-Far R-I

Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

Van-Far Transportation Director Charlie Stroker shares his concerns to the board about a possible four-day week.

Van-Far Transportation Director Charlie Stroker shares his concerns to the board about a possible four-day week.

With their first board meeting after a community-wide survey was taken in regards to a possible four-day week, a more than one hour long discussion ended with the need to form a committee to look at the board’s finances.
A committee featuring administrators, board members, and staff will be formed and hold its first meeting when the district is back up and running after the Christmas break.
The focus is on taking a closer look at the district’s finances and putting together some recommendations for the board while noting the importance of educating the public on just exactly where the district finds itself when it comes to revenues and expenses.
One noticeable concern is that the district has received more than $550,000 in 2015-16 than it did in 2011-12.
With an 18% decline in state revenues and enrollment down 28 students at the cost of approximately $7,300 per year per student not counting weighted factors, the district is likely out around another $200,000 this school year. Proactively, in the past couple of years, the district has already not replaced people it didn’t need to replace saving the district around $250,000.
Superintendent Dr. Hunter also said the revenues are a moving target due to the uncertainty of state revenues and in looking into a four-day week, the “devil is in the details.”
The results of the four-day survey for the community had 442 respondents featuring 112 parents/guardians from elementary and 107 from Jr./Sr. high school, 97 for both schools, and 126 from the community that don’t have students. There were 279 or 63.12% in support of a four-day week concepts with 23.95% non-supporting, and 12.89% still unsure.
Between the “Yes” and “Yes, When Possible” votes, a large majority of those polled said they would be willing to schedule appointments on a Monday, if possible.
About 66% of the 97 staff members took a staff survey. There were 40.62% supportive, 31.25% non-supportive, and 28.12% still unsure for the four-day week. Scheduling of appointments showed a near majority of folks willing to make them on Mondays, if possible. Wheeler expressed concerns that some couldn’t take the survey due to it being online. It was not–ed surveys were also sent home with parents but just one was returned. Keller noted the ease of taking the survey on smart phones, noting that many district residents have those types of phones.
Transportation Director Charlie Stroker noted concerns among his department regarding a significant cut in pay, which is 20%.
He said the department is short-staffed right now and after a rough survey, about half of the staff including himself could be lost.
Some concerns also involved the longer day, much earlier pick-up times, and challenges with extracurricular schedules.

Read the rest of the story in our December 21 issue of The Vandalia Leader or purchase an electronic edition by subscribing at