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District 54 seeks members for Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee

MORRIS – The Morris Elementary School District 54 Board of Education is in the process of forming a Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee.

The district previously formed a financial advisory committee in 2004 and presented a final report to the board in January 2005. The district would like to use this tool again.

“A group of financial people and business members in the community formed the original committee to look at financial analysis after Midwest Generation left, causing a 50 percent loss of revenue which had a dramatic effect on the district,” Superintendent Teri Shaw said.

The board is looking to recreate the committee to analyze, evaluate and update the report that was made in 2005, which has guided the district for the past decade.

“The first committee made a list of recommendations for the board, because at the end of the day the board makes the decisions,” she said. “They looked at cost savings, because there is not a lot of chance to increase revenue.”

The previous committee looked at things like refinancing buildings to save costs.

“They may revisit what we did in ’04-05 and look at those recommendations and what we did with them,” Shaw said. “They’ll look to see if there is something the board hasn’t seen.”

Board member Carol Narvick said Wednesday she thinks it is a good idea to get input not only from board members, but also members of the community.

“We’re coming up with some tough years ahead of us,” Narvick said. “We need all the help we can get.”

Shaw said it is imperative to look at the financial aspects of the district and get input from those in the community again, because they are facing their fourth year of decline of equalized assessed valuation, or EAV, in the community.

Decreasing EAVs mean a drop in property tax revenue coming into the district.       

She said the district has lost 20 percent over the past few years, but the state typically stepped in and helped fill the gap in the loss of revenue. However, with the state cutting back, as well, the district is looking at $600,000 to $700,000 less revenue in fiscal year 2015.

The board is looking for about six members of the business community who would be willing to meet once a month for about two hours beginning in April and ending in October.

“The goal of the committee is to present a final report to the Board of Education in October 2014,” Shaw said.

Interested parties should send a letter of interest to the district office at 54 White Oak Dr., Morris, IL 60450.

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