MATTOON -- Next year's proposed school district budget is approximately $143,000 in the black and will be on the docket for today’s school board meeting.

According to the meeting agenda, board members will vote on the budget during their session starting at 7 p.m. today at the Mattoon schools administrative building, 1701 Charleston Ave.

The drawn up budget has expenses totaling approximately $35.5 million, and district officials are expecting slightly over that total. Larry Lilly, Mattoon superintendent, said they were conservative in their projections for how much they will be getting from Illinois, especially based on the state’s track record.

Despite the impending vote, it is still uncertain how much money school officials will actually have to work with. Lilly said these estimations were based partly on numbers from last year as well as some projected numbers.

It is still uncertain how much the school district will actually receive this time around. State lawmakers just recently passed a school funding formula and implementing that formula is still being worked out.

Lilly said the new formula is vastly different from the old one and it will likely take time to put it in place. Recently, the school has been receiving payments based off of the old formula until it can be squared away.

Lilly said he hopes the budget is figured out as soon as possible but does not expect payments based on the new formula until October or November. Based on what the district is supposed to receive, the new one is expected to be beneficial to Mattoon schools.

However, it is premature to say whether it is or is not beneficial to the Mattoon district until those payments come in, Lilly said.

Also a part of the meeting, board members will vote whether to solicit bids for the 2017-18 Building Trades house at 2013 Evergreen Court, the last school lot in the subdivision.

Over the school year, students will be building the home. School officials want to open bids early enough for the potential owners to have input into some of the construction of the house, such as the choice of cabinets, Lilly noted.

School officials are looking for a minimum bid of $150,000. Should the board approve, bids will be accepted in a sealed envelope to Tom Sherman, Mattoon assistant superintendent for business, until 2 p.m. Oct. 4.

The chosen bid will be presented to the school board members at their next meeting Oct. 10.

While this will be the last home in the subdivision to be built by Mattoon students, Lilly said future students will be working on lots in the Briarwick Subdivision. Lilly noted the school will likely need to look out for additional lots to build on in the near future.

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Jarad Jarmon is a reporter for the JG-TC. He covers the city of Charleston, Eastern Illinois University, Mattoon schools and the Regional Office of Education.

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