Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Update on the Dunlap School Board budget meeting...

Update on the Dunlap School Board meeting for those who requested it: 

The meeting started promptly at 7:00 PM at Dunlap Valley Middle School. The Board presented a slide show that illustrated a stagnation in EAV (property taxes) at the same time the student enrollment is sky-rocketing. These conditions have created a budget deficit for the 2014/15 school year. To offset this structural deficit, the board will increase property taxes (via their levy) approximately $35 for every $100,000 of property value. Even with that, there will still be a $2.1 million dollar deficit.

The chart below outlines how they plan to balance the budget. Activity fees will be charged for extra-curriculars plus there will be program reductions as well as reductions in staff. A lot of parents spoke. The overwhelming theme is to cut as far away from the classroom as possible. Karen Disharoon asked for a breakdown in the staff reduction expenditure at least in regards to teacher/Admin ratio.

Parents want transparency in the process as well as input. The vote on the budget will be sometime in February. Karen and I are planning to organize a parent-oversight co-op to monitor the meetings and website and to funnel parent feedback to the Board of Education.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

THE talk.

Overheard at my house this morning:


The Dad: "Here Sweetie this came out of J's backpack this morning"

 Me: "OH, No! A visit to the Hult Center - When life begins".

 J: "What's so bad about that? I already know when life begins. A baby starts out as a little speck".

 The Dad: "Yes, the stork brings a speck to your house"

 Mom and Dad Giggling

 J: "Why are you guys laughing?"

 Me: "No reason. Just go on the field trip and if you have any questions afterwards ask your Dad".

 I am so proud of how mature we can handle this subject matter with our kids.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A word about the Dunlap School Board races....

Dunlap School Board Races - Choose Three!

It has been reported that some Dunlap School Board candidates and their supporters are asking voters to punch the ballot ONLY for them, even though there are three open seats! (There are three seats, and four candidates). In my opinion, this is an attempt to disenfranchise you, and suggests at least to me that the campaign is thinking only of their own personal welfare, and not the overall health of the School District and the students they seek to serve.

To thrive and improve, a school district needs every member (not just one) of it's Board of Education to be the most highly qualified person ready willing and able to carry out the duties and responsibilities of this most crucial organization. An election is not about an individual - but rather, a movement to determine which seven people will be the best representative and advocates for our children.

If any candidate or their supporters tell you to ONLY punch the ballot for their preferred candidate (even though there are three), give some thought to doing the opposite, as I'm not sure they truly understand the mission.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A word about.... Mine subsidence - UPDATED

Recently our State Farm agent has been calling and e-mailing incessantly wanting us to sign a "mine subsidence" waiver of insurance on our home- owners insurance policy. Apparently, the standard residential homeowners policy does not include coverage for damage due to mine subsidence. So after the latest call, (following my failure to act and return the document), I started wondering if I should be putting more thought into this "waiver". I posted a question on our Realtor Facebook Page, asking fellow Peoria Area agents to comment if they had more than my mediocre knowledge of the subject. Jason Catton of RE/MAX Acclaimed was kind enough to offer this link to the Illinois State Geological Survey.

It's a map from the Illinois State Geological Survey showing a legend of old mine activity. You can type in a complete property address and it will overlay a color-coded map of old coal mines over the subject area. By executing these steps, you can see if there may be an old coal mine underneath your home. It's quite fascinating, and if you drag the map around and look at the Charter Oak area, as well as the Bartonville and South Peoria area, you'll see that it would at least appear, you might want to consider purchasing that Mine Subsidence addendum. Generally speaking, according to the Geological records, it appears that most of Peoria County North of War Memorial Drive is in the clear.

The following comment appeared when the Peoria.com forums linked to this blog article:

The Illinois Mine Subsidence Act was passed in 1979, and mandated that property insurers offer coverage for the peril of mine subsidence. There are 34 counties where coverage is automatically rolled onto policies, however the insured has the option to waive coverage in writing. For a list of those counties, ask your insurance agent, or see the website cited below. In the remaining counties, coverage can be added to the policy by request. Through the same legislation, the Illinois Mine Subsidence Insurance Fund was created to provide reinsurance for companies who pay mine subsidence losses. Although created by the state, the Fund is not a state agency. When an insured suspects their property has been damaged by mine subsidence, they should notify their primary insurer, who will file the claim with the Fund. For more information about mine subsidence, mine subsidence insurance, or issues surrounding mine subsidence such as buying or selling a home in mine subsidence affected areas, please visit our website at: www.imsif.com or call us at 800-433-6743.

Kathy Moran, Consumer Education