In his final school board meeting, Chester Superintendent Rick Goodman advised the District 139 Board of Education of the grim reality facing the district financially during an amended budget hearing Wednesday at Chester High School.
"I just hate that the state has disrupted us and not fulfilled their obligations," he said.
Goodman submitted his resignation in May, along with Chester High School Principal Sarah Gass and both are effective Friday.
The BOE selected Missy Meyer to replace Gass, effective July 1, and the board was scheduled to discuss the search for Goodman's replacement, which includes 11 candidates, in a separate closed-door meeting also Friday.
Goodman noted the state owes the district $1.2 million and the district will need an additional $650,000 more than it has now to have a balanced budget for the 2017-18 school year.
"I don't know why the federal government doesn't step in," he said. "I don't know how to do that."
Goodman said that when the district submits its amended budget to the state with its deficit reduction plan attached, there would be a chance of the state kicking it back to the district.
"I'm hoping it doesn't, but I won't be surprised with the state," he said.
Goodman said that he had given the board a list of options on deficit reduction, including reducing the number of paraprofessionals.
"We just need to cut the stuffing out of supplies," he said. "Classroom stuff, no, but everything else.
"Unless we get a new funding program, that's where you're gonna go. It's very frustrating.
Board member Charles Fricke asked how the Multi-State Lottery Association dropping Illinois in its Mega Millions and Powerball games would affect the district.
The state retains about 40 percent of the money generated by ticket sales for education funding.
"The only good thing is if it is bad enough, it will affect everybody in the state," said Goodman, who noted the district would have been able to stay open until Dec. 15 last year prior to passage of the stopgap budget. "And then, enviably, something will happen."
After approving the amended budget, the board reconvened for a separate meeting and met briefly in executive session to approve several personnel matters. It also approved diverting $152,398.50 from the Site & Construction Fund to the Bond & Interest Fund to make bond payments.
The board approved the following agenda items:
• Employing Sarah Norman as CHS English/Special Education teacher for the 2017-18 school year.
• Reassign Tisha Coffey from CHS secretary to CHS paraprofessional for 2017-18 school year.
• Accept the resignation of Lindsey Pritchard as CHS three-hour cafeteria aide.
• Employ Sarah Norman as CHS assistant volleyball coach for 2017-18.