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 Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass. 1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links. 1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned. 1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today. 1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.