Sunday, September 23, 2012


By Kelsey Watson
Teachers and staff members of the Monmouth-Roseville Community Unit School District could be losing their jobs next year due to another Deficit Reduction Plan,  Central Intermediate School, Harding Primary School, Lincoln Early Childhood School, Monmouth-Roseville Junior High School, and Monmouth-Roseville High School are the five schools that make up District #238, and are all in jeopardy of a reduction in teaching staff depending on how the Deficit Reduction Plan pans out a few months from now.
 Because the school district’s revenue is smaller than the district’s expenditures, a Deficit Reduction Plan along with an FY13 Budget was outlined in a recent school board meeting for Monmouth-Roseville.  The Tentative Budget Proposal packet distributed at the meeting reveals that  “the state is not meeting its obligation to our school district,” and is causing the plan to be put into full force.
 Ed Fletcher, the superintendent of the Monmouth-Roseville School District, has been working with the district for three years now and says that this is not the first time the school has filed for the Deficit Reduction Plan—the school also filed for a Deficit Reduction Plan back in 2008.  “We are required by the Illinois State Board of Education to complete the plan.  The reason that we have to file for the Deficit Reduction Plan is because the state of Illinois has prorated the amount of revenue they are constitutionally required to provide to school districts from 100% full funding to 89% of funding,” stated Fletcher.  “We are supposed to receive $6,119 per pupil in our district, but due to proration we will only receive $5,446 per student.”  According to the Monmouth-Roseville superintendent, the total loss of income for the school district is approximated at around $500,000. 
When asked what can be done in the future to avoid filing for the deficit plan again, Fletcher replied with, “There is only so much we can reduce to cut expenses, but we will do everything in our power to provide a quality education for our students.”  The Monmouth-Roseville School District is very concerned with their student’s educations, and even though the district had to result in filing for the plan, they are continuing to look forward and hoping for the best.  The plan will hopefully open more eyes to teachers, staff, the school board, and parents of children who attend schools in the district that they need to help and volunteer in all ways that are possible.  The Board of Education will be holding meetings for the next month to discuss with the District Administration about meeting the expected requirements for the Deficit Reduction Plan. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Art and Artists

By Nicole Polich
Residents from around the county gathered at the Buchanan Center for Arts in Monmouth this week for the 64th Arts National Juried Exhibition featuring Juror Eric Fischl. Artists
were asked to submit works to share insights and hopes for America in the
spirit of the national initiative, “America: Now and Here.”

Juror Eric Fischl, is a worldwide acclaimed American figurative painter and sculptor.  His achievements throughout his career havemade him one of the most influential artists. Fischl’s paintings, sculptures,drawings and prints have been the subject of numerous solo and group
exhibitions and publications, for many years.

Jessica Bingham, a 2012 Monmouth College
graduate, had the chance to meet Mr. Fischl. “He is one of the most
accomplished “living” artists of our generation and was very insightful,
explaining to Connor Shields and I, about our desire to be professionals in
art, that ‘if we want it, we will get it.’ He was very kind towards the
Monmouth community, connected with the artists on a personal level and spoke
humbly about his artistic career; this was a great honor to have him here.”

Artists were given three themes to refer to
when submitting their artwork; America as Icon, America as Place and America as
People. “Art is a reflection of the society we live in” echoed a voice in the
exhibit. Each artwork symbolizes a unique aspect of America society seen
through the artist’s eyes. “Waiting for Impact, Ghost Elevator, Way up here,
Devils Highway to the American Dream, and Bitter Seduction” are just a few
names of the art work seen in the exhibit.

One specific piece of art titled “Off
Label” stood out to Monmouth College junior Kaity Washburn,“The society we live
in is always focused on the materialistic view of life, whether it’s the
clothes we wear or the places we shop. This painting proves that even an off
label can be Monmouth College beautiful.”
Other paintings resembled such things as the economy, the farming
industry, the American dream and the seduction of Starbucks, all insights of
what each artist hopes for America.

The Buchanan Center for Arts features a large exhibit space for classes,
meetings, and other arts related and community events. October 26-December 29th
will be a new artist, Gil Rocha.

Monmouth Begins Downtown Renewal

By Megan Lyle

The City of Monmouth recently devised a plan to modify many older
buildings in the City of Monmouth that are left abandoned and unused.

A new project is underway that will renovate some of the
older historical buildings downtown in an attempt to benefit the community as a

One of the largest buildings involved is the former Maple City Candy
Company. The downtown building will be renovated, adding business space as
well as quality housing for the expanding community center.

Another idea is to hold of more publicevents within the downtown area. In order to facilitate a more visitor-friendlycenter, Monmouth will be aesthetically improving the square and adding a
community theatre.

Besides the city and tax money, Monmouth College has also provided funds
for the project to be made into reality.

“Historic tax credit programs help make renovation an affordable (and
eventually profitable) option for developers,” said Paul Schuytema, director of
Community Development. “Without that tool, we have to, locally, bridge that

According to Schuytema, the gap is filled by an investment of TIF funds
(from the City) and financial support of the College for the apartments. Those
funds replace the tax credit incentive that the state of Illinois does not have
to offer.

The college is giving money but it will also gain some benefits when the
renovation finishes.  The benefits of the
rental space, for example, are “not just for the larger community.”

“[They will] aid in efforts to recruit young faculty,” Schuytema said,
“and to provide opportunities for MC alumni to become more involved in college
and community life. It should be noted that the apartment will be high-end,
market rate rentals, and not student housing. They are geared more towards
young professionals and active retirees.”

It is not only the college that will see these benefits, however.

“There will be many positive effects,” Schuytema said. “More folks living
downtown will energize our downtown area. They will help support the retail
we’re working to bring in. It will help save key historic buildings.”

A more detailed list of these changes can be found on the Monmouth city website.