VILLA GROVE — Anticipating a $500,000 deficit, the school board will be facing some difficult decisions for the coming school year.
"We are in survival mode," board President Steve Douglas told a group of about 70 parents who attended this week's meeting to address the proposed sports cooperative agreement with Heritage school district.
The two districts have met to discuss the co-op but have not developed a final plan. The most urgent decision concerns football. High school Principal Sheila Greenwood said an agreement of intention must be filed with the Little Okaw Valley Conference by its March 20 meeting, to develop a schedule for next season.
Parents expressed concerns about how the co-op would work and how it would affect student athletes at Villa Grove.
Douglas responded that the board is not trying to keep any kids from playing. "What we are trying to do is what is best for our students and to keep our programs," he said.
Board member Jim Kestner volunteered to develop a public survey to gather input from the community before a public forum on the sports co-op scheduled for at 6:30 p.m. March 12 in the school cafeteria. The survey will be available on the school website, and residents will have a chance to speak at the forum before a final decision is made at the March 18 school board meeting.
The board will also be seeking public opinion on the potential budget cuts facing the school district. "I think it's important to also put this out for public response. It's going to affect everybody," Kestner said.