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Maine District 207 News: Budget Approved, ACT Scores Rise, Money May Arrive Nine Years Late

The high school district is also ready to move info online, and a state grant promised for 2002 may finally arrive.

Budget approved

The Maine Township High School District 207 school board approved a final budget at its Sept. 6 meeting calling for $140 million in revenue and $140.2 million in spending for the current school year. Both numbers were adjusted slightly from the tentative budget on which the district held a public hearing in August.

Projected revenue rose from $137.4 million to $140 million based on new projections for state aid, based on updated poverty and special education estimates, as well as the addition of grants that had not been approved a month ago.

Projected expenses decreased from $140.6 million to $140.2 million based on the actual level of staffing, recent medical insurance claims history and other adjustments.

Earlier: 

ACT scores rise at Maine South, East

ACT scores for the 2011 graduating class rose slightly at Maine East and Maine South High Schools and fell slightly at Maine West High School.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Barbara Dill-Varga said the district has only the ACT college entrance exam data, not the Illinois state school report card demographic information that would help put the ACT scores in context.

Overall, District 207’s class of 2011 earned an average composite score of 22.6, above the state average of 20.9 and the national average of 20.1. Students at Maine South averaged 25, while those at Maine East averaged 21.1 and those at Maine West averaged 21.2.

Illinois’ average ACT scores are below the national average, but the test is administered to all Illinois high school juniors. In most states, only students who need the test for college take it, which makes for a higher average score. Illinois has one of the top average scores among the 10 or so states that require all students to take the ACT.

Grant may arrive nine years late

The District 207 school board approved a resolution saying it would pay about $4.1 million in construction costs at Maine West and Maine East, helping to pay for the conversion of maintenance and other space into classrooms and science labs.

The odd thing? The district completed – and paid for -- the $6.3 million project years ago. The resolution is necessary for the state to release a $2.2 million construction grant it approved in 2002. The state did not have the money to pay out all the grants it promised that year, and it is still catching up. Word is that the money from nine years ago might be coming this year, said Mary Kalou, the assistant superintendent for business, because the state asked for a formal resolution from the district saying it would cover the local share of the project.

School board info to go online

District 207 will take another leap into the digital world next month when administrators make the background information on agenda items given to them available online through GoogleDocs as well as in hard copy spiral bound books.

The books are about an inch thick, and the district produces 25 or 26 of them for each board meeting.

The district looked at various possibilities for distributing the information electronically, including using GoogleDocs, which it already uses for other purposes, and two levels of a commercial software product called BoardDocs, which is used by several other school districts, including East Maine Elementary District 63 and New Trier Township High School District 203.

While GoogleDocs does not have all of the conveniences that BoardDocs has – including the ability for board members to annotate documents - the price is right, said Greg Dietz, the assistant superintendent for general administration. Since the district has an educational user account with GoogleDocs, it would not have to pay any additional fee.

BoardDocs “is a lot more than free,” Dietz quipped. The basic level costs about $3,000 a year and the pro level costs about $12,000 a year, he said.

The district will offer the board packet through GoogleDocs for its Oct. 3 meeting. Three board members – Edward Mueller, Donna Pellar and Margaret McGrath – asked to also receive a hard copy.

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