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Moline State of the Schools

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Student achievement is up and the Moline School District is in good shape to move forward with its operational plan. That was the message from Superintendent Dave Moyer in his annual State of the Schools address Tuesday night.

He says big goals for the coming year include implementing Common Core curriculum and working to meet requirements for teacher evaluations.

But, getting to this point has not been easy. The process to get the operational plan approved back in May met a lot of public outcry, especially the proposal to close Ericsson and Garfield Elementary schools in a few years, when the new Hamilton school opens. (Click here to learn more about the Moline School District's operational plan.)

Now, Dr. Moyer says the district is seeing some positive trends, both in student achievement and in its finances.

The educational fund deficit has been reduced from $3.8 million last year to $1.3 million now.

"I think many of the most challenging things we had to deal with, we dealt with last year in that first year, and we did that by design so that we could be in a position to move forward and we wouldn't have a lot of those ongoing budget problems, ongoing facility problems, etc. to distract us from our central mission," Dr. Moyer said.

The district's plans for its facilities could receive a pretty big boost if voters approve a one percent local sales tax referendum in March.

The Moline School Board voted Tuesday night to approve a resolution to ask for that sales tax referendum be included on the upcoming March ballot in Rock Island County.

It is the same one cent sales tax already in place in all of Iowa, and many surrounding Illinois counties.

But, to get the sales tax issue on the ballot in March, the school districts representing at least 50% of the student population in Rock Island County have to pass a resolution agreeing to that, which is what Moline's school board did this week.

If approved by the voters, the money could only be used for school facilities.

Moline's share of the expected revenue is $3.2 million, and it would be used to help retire bonds faster, move through plans for future facilities upgrades sooner, and would allow them to have some property tax relief.

"That's something we think is an important part of the overall plan and, when 30% of the sales tax revenue comes from outside the county, we look at it as an overall community win-win and it is something we think at this point needs to be a priority," Dr. Moyer said.

During Tuesday's school board meeting, district leaders also received an update on the process to re-purpose the Ericsson Elementary school building when it is closed in a few years, as part of the district's operational plan.

As of Tuesday night, a community survey to gather public input on the future of the building is being finalized.

It should be available to the public beginning October 24th.

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