When voters in the East Moline Elementary School District go to the polls Tuesday, they'll choose four board members from among six candidates. The winners will be facing budget deficits, crowded classrooms and shortfalls in funding from Illinois.
Superintendent Kristin Humphries told board members at the Feb 20 meeting the district needs to make up $300,000 and will be operating in deficit spending until it finds out in May what it will receive in general state aid.
The funding crisis is taking center-stage with most candidates, who agree it is the most important issue.
The six candidates are incumbents Lisa Betsworth, Kai Killam, Robert Anderson and Gregory Shouse, and newcomers Patrick Green and Christopher VanSpeybroeck.
Mr. Killam said he is running for re-election so he can continue to provide support for the great staff and students in the district, in addition to overseeing responsible use of taxpayer funds.
Mr. Anderson is concerned with crowded classrooms and wants to consider other options for facilities. He said he'd like to see a new school built in the Watertown neighborhood of East Moline where most of the kids are bused to school.
"Our schools are busting at the seams, we need to be able to meet the needs of our children," said Mr. Anderson. "We need to establish a presence below the hill. What defines a neighborhood? Schools do that."
Mr. Shouse is most concerned with budget problems in Illinois and how they affect downstate schools like those in East Moline. He said it's imperative to manage taxpayer money and district funds as efficiently as possible.
Mr. Green also is focused on managing district funds and stretching them to meet everyone's needs.
"This has been, and will continue to be, an issue until our state gets its financial woes under control," said Mr. Green.
Mr. VanSpeybroeck agrees the most pressing issue is the lack of state funding, which has resulted in larger class sizes and fewer extracurricular activities.
As a former United Township board member and employee of United Township High School, he said he offers the perspective of an educator and businessman.
Today is Friday, March 7, the 66th day of 2014. There are 299 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat came up to her dock yesterday and was punching away at the ice, which is crowded up against the Iowa shore. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.C. Bromley, of Rock Island, has received a patent on a steam activated valve. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Major. C.W. Hawes, head clerk of the Modern Woodmen of America, was honored by department chiefs on his 73rd birthday 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mayor Robert Galbraith declared that 75 percent of the people here have talked to "favor construction of Rock Island's new city hall in Spencer Square." 1964 -- 50 years ago: C.H. Langman & Sons, Rock Island, has been awarded the general contract for partial rehabilitation and modernization of the main building at the East Moline State Hospital. The Langman firm bid $424,839. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The cost of living in the Quad-Cities is 6.8 percent less than the average of 260 metropolitan areas.