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Balanced Budget for RI Schools

Thanks to the state, and local shoppers, the new budget for the Rock Island School District will be balanced, with even a small surplus. After a public hearing Tuesday night, the board of education approved a $71 million budget for the new school year. 

Chief Financial Officer Bob Beckwith says the property tax rate will drop slightly again this year, thanks to the local option sales tax for schools approved by county residents in 2016.

"We no longer levy for life safety money which was a nickel levy. We use the one per cent sales tax for those expenditures now - for roof work, tuckpoint work, and those types of areas."

The tax rate has dropped a total of 13 cents during the past two years, to $5.32 per $1,000 assessed value. 

Beckwith says the new budget includes money to complete "secure entrances" at three more schools this year, and start work on two more, including Rock Island High School.

And the state aid formula for Illinois schools has been replaced by what's called the "evidence based funding model." Beckwith says it provides more money for districts in greater financial need, and will send about 900,000 additional dollars to his district in the coming year. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.