Board approves plans for clubs, athletics

Board approves plans for clubs, athletics

Pictured here at their March meeting, the school board approved plans for sports and extracurriculars at last night’s meeting.

Cameron Kritikos, Sports Manager

On Tuesday, April 10th, the School Board held their monthly meeting with a slew of important budget decisions looming.

The board voted on and approved a proposal from Athletic Director Art Ostrow that will return all existing sports teams, including several that were previously thought to be on the chopping block.  Boys and girls water polo, boys volleyball, and girls golf will all run next year.

At the meeting, almost the entire boys water polo team was in attendance to plead with the board to keep the sport at RB.  Several players spoke in front of the board along with many parents of players.

With the plan approved by the board, the supply budget for Athletics will be reduced by 30% across the board.  The cost of Pay to Play will increase from $75 to $200.  The gain of $125 from each athlete will result in an approximate revenue increase of $100,000 to the school.  The new Pay to Play fee that the board approved is one of the highest in the suburban Chicagoland area.

The board also discussed the larger budget for the 2012-2013 school year.  With the current reductions already in place, RB is expected to cut nearly $1.2 million dollars from expenses, mostly coming in the form of layoffs and part-time reductions of the teaching staff.  Unfortunately, that still leaves the school approximately $400,000 in deficit.

According to Superintendent Dr. Kevin Skinkis, the school currently has two viable options to raise revenue.  One of them would be holding another referendum which, if approved by the community, would raise property taxes.  The other option would be to reissue working cash bonds.  The school is in the process of paying off a previous round of bonds that were issued in 2008.  At this point, the current school board is planning on looking to bring in a financial consultant to explore all of their financial options.

Also in attendance at the meeting was Illinois State Representative Michael J. Zalewski.  Zalewski played a key role in getting the left turn signal installed at the 1st avenue stoplight.  Zalewski came to share advice and financial expertise with the school.  In particular, he spoke about the possible $8.9 million in state grant dollars that RB could receive.

“I remain optimistic.  I believe the money is coming very soon,” said Zalewski.

RB did not receive grant money when the State authorized $432 million in capital development grants during the last session of the General Assembly.  More money could be released this Spring during the current session.

While the school administration has been going through the interview process to hire a replacement for Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction Tim Scanlon, who is retiring at the end of this school year, no official action was taken at last night’s meeting.

The board also discussed and voted on extracurricular offerings at RB next year.  One club, Ultimate Frisbee, was eliminated.  Math Club, Speech Team, and the Spring Musical were all reinstated.  To help pay for this, the board also will institute a Pay to Participate fee for competitive and performance activities.  Competitive activities like Chess Club will come with a $100 fee and performance activities like the Spring Musical will have a $75 fee.

The school board will hold its next general meeting in May.