By Todd Wineburner
The Pontiac District 90 school board started 2013 with reports on some very successful school programs, and some discussion of ongoing concerns. Representatives of the student council reported that an attendance incentive program has created significant improvements in student attendance figures. The program gives students the chance to earn final examination exemptions, and also offers chances for tangible rewards. There are some concerns that will be addressed in the future, but Superintendent Jon Kilgore says the program means more students spending more time in contact with the currciculum, so it's a positive program that he supports.
Board members also got a recap of the Pontiac Holiday tournament. Tournament director Jim Drengwitz said the tournament remains a premier holiday venue in the state, garnering coverage from major sports media outlets and receiving outstanding support from the community. Drengwitz says ticket sales were at record levels in several categories, and that outstanding programs from around the state continue to seek a berth in the annual event.
In his report to board members, Superintendent Jon Kilgore talked about the ongoing budget concerns, as conventional wisdom is telling school administrators to prepare for even greater reductions in school funding. State officials have already pro-rated general state aid to 89 percent of expectations, and it's likely that cuts will take that figure down another few percentage points. That change will take hundreds of thousands from District 90 coffers. In addition, Kilgore explained that transportation funding is probably also in line for cuts, and the general assembly took no action on pension reform during the lame duck session, leaving local officials at a loss as to the best course of action to take.