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, Dec. 12, the 346th day of 2013. There are 19 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Two boys who haul coal from Coal Valley to Davenport were arrested yesterday for running their teams through the city street at a furious rate. 1888 -- 125 years ago: E.H. Barker dislocated his left wrist and suffered a compound fracture of the right wrist when he fell from the roof of his icehouse. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Lou Harris was elected county superintendent of schools to fill the unexpired term of the late S.J. Ferguson. 1938 -- 75 years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a state must give equality in educational privileges to white and Negro law students. 1963 -- 50 years ago: About 300 employees of the Augustana Book Concern, staff members of the Board of Publication of the Lutheran Church in America, as well as friends of the community and out-of-town guests honored Dr. Birger Swenson at the annual Christmas dinner of the Augustana Book Concern last night in Westerlin Hall on the Augustana College campus. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The Christmas shopping season began early this year and continues to bring out shoppers in record numbers, according to Quad-Cities retailers interviewed today.