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 Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.