Enrollment at most schools in Effingham Unit #40 is up for this school year compared to last year around this time. Superintendent Mark Doan said that the spike in enrollment is a positive for the district at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
“We’re pleasantly surprised, you know as of today,” said Superintendent Doan, “we’ll do a ten day enrollment count here in the next few days, because this is only our third day, but you know we’re 106 [students] compared to September 1st of 2015 and that was our 10 day enrollment for last year.”
Discussion was also heard about the district partnering with the city as part of the proposed Effingham Enterprise Zone. Effingham City Administrator Jim Arndt and Economic Development Specialist attended the meeting Monday night to answer questions from the board. Effingham’s current Enterprise Zone, which is set to expire in 2018, allows businesses to have tax incentives to locate or expand in the area. One incentive is that businesses get a property tax break, three years for commercial and seven years for industrial, which could impact the amount funds available for local taxing bodies. Superintend Doan supported the agreement calling it an “investment” in the area. The board will vote on partnering with the city on the new enterprise zone in September.
The board also agreed to approve a tentative budget for the upcoming school year. The budget will now go on public display for 30 days before being adopted by the board next month. Overall, Superintendent Doan is positive about the district’s financial state. The current tentative budget does spend more than the district will bring in with revenue, but it a smaller deficit than the last fiscal year. According to him, last year the district had $1 million deficit as compared to this year’s $300,000.
In other action, the board approved two new clubs at Effingham High School including the EHS Green Works Group and the EHS Social Studies Club.
The board also approved the FY17 Crisis plan, as well as a bus purchase/lease rotation agreement. The agreement allows the district to own the school buses they use, so they can eventually sell them to other parties at a higher rate of return than trading them back to the company.