District 79 runs big deficit, rejects consolidation

District 79 board not interested in talking about consolidation, as District runs large deficit this school year

District 79 was the one who initiated the current talk about consolidation, by inviting regional superintendent Mark Klaisner to one of their tax increase rallies in February.

Since then, there has been an increasing level of interest into consolidation by the members of the community, to combine the many grade school districts in the area, with the current focus being to consolidate the two-school District 80 and the single school District 79.

Klaisner will be hosting a consolidation forum this coming Tuesday at 6:30PM.

But now that the community has been talking more about it, all of a sudden District 79 wants nothing to do with consolidation.

And that’s right after Superintendent Kristin Kopta revealed District 79 would run a $371K deficit this school year.

At the September 12th board meeting, “consolidation information” was to have been provided, but was conveniently delayed by a technical malfunction.

Board President Michael Malusa and the board slammed the door to their involvement on consolidation, not willing to entertain a discussion “at this time”.

How does somebody running a $371,000 deficit not be interested in even entertaining a discussion about consolidation? This concept is lost on Malusa and his crew, the same people who put a $25 million dollar tax increase on the ballot earlier this year.

Further discussion ensued where the many years of diverting building funds to employee compensation (including 6% raises in each of the last three years of employment) have come home to roost as problems with water leakage continue to plague the building.

Consolidation of school districts may also involve closing one of the schools, and the District 79 board no doubt fears Pennoyer will be the one closed.

But if Pennoyer has been so poorly maintained, and as a result has the most structure related building issues of the school buildings in the area, isn’t it logical Pennoyer should be the one on the chopping block?

We the people do have the ability to petition for consolidation, so ultimately, it is not the board or administration who will decide whether the schools will consolidate.

Video of the September 12 2018 D-79 Board Meeting (before tour – 54 minutes)

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