Tuesday night, the district flashed back to the past. About two years ago, you may remember the district was still recovering from the People Who Care Lawsuit. The deficit was out of control and the state was breathing down the district's neck. The Rockford School Board glanced back at the past in order to appreciate where they are today.
Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson took the board back to 2004. That is when he came aboard along with his administration. In 2004 the district was in the hole about $24 million. It's projected that the deficit in 2007 will be around $1.8 million. These figures are very timely considering the district is asking for voters to vote "yes" in the fall. That would maintain a tax rate of 58 cents for the Rockford School District's Education Fund. If that's not passed the district would lose $14 million.
Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson says, "Our discussions are able to be directed to what we are going to do in the future as opposed to how we are going to reduce what we're doing now. We're having productive discussion that we can expand educational opportunities but we still have to continue to reduce the deficit and work on building a reserve."
Dr. Thompson said the biggest challenges this year will be changing school assignment. The board will have to make a decision about this re-zoning by Thanksgiving. In the future the district is also going to have to look at building new schools on the north-east side of town. And as you heard first on 23 WIFR, Thompson also plans on starting a career education high school.