Danville school board members study achievement

DANVILLE — Danville High School staff aren't the only ones who are getting more training through the School Improvement Grant.

School board members will begin a series of Targeting Achievement through Governance workshops, offered through the Illinois Association of School Boards, at their meeting on Wednesday.

Board members also vote on whether to adopt a proposed $61.5 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which includes a small surplus.

The Danville school board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville. A copy of the agenda is available online at http://bit.ly/16MK7RE.

Wednesday's workshop — called The "Why" and the "What" — will be the first of seven that will held during the board's second meeting of the month over the next 18 months. Four sessions will be held this year, and three will be held next year.

The workshops are a requirement of the grant, which is funneling up to $2 million a year over the next three years in an effort to significantly improve academic achievement at the school. They will be led by Steve Clark, a consultant with the association.

Superintendent Mark Denman said the workshops will address the school board's role in student achievement by helping members understand the link between board policy and governance and student achievement.

"This is a wall-to-wall improvement process," Denman said of the grant, which is providing more focused math and reading intervention opportunities for students, more intensive professional development for staff and more mentoring for students and parents, among other things.

"These workshops will help the board become as knowledgeable and comfortable with all of the nuances of governance and student achievement as they can be," Denman continued. "They will be very in-depth ... and they will be interactive."

Under the proposed spending plan, the district would take in about $65.1 million in revenue and spend nearly that much, leaving a $32,382 surplus. The figures don't include about $6.2 million in bonds that will be spent to finish the East Park Elementary School renovation.

"We're still going to have a balanced budget, but it's a little less to the bottom line," business and finance director Heather Smith said, adding the figures changed slightly from an earlier draft that was put on display 30 days ago. That version showed a $119,124 surplus.

The education fund — which pays for day-to-day expenses and most salaries — would take in about $49.5 million in revenue and spend about $49.2 million, leaving a surplus of about $304,000.

Smith said the district began the fiscal year on July 1 with a fund balance of $26.7 million, and it would end the year on June 30, 2014, with a balance of $20.6 million.

"We're still going to have watch everything very carefully," Smith said.

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