FULTON, Ill. — River Bend School District Superintendent Darryl Hogue on Monday night reported possible changes to bus leasing and a seemingly successful future-planning avenue for students to utilize throughout their high school careers.

The school district's bus lease is up come summer 2018, however Hogue may have found a potentially cheaper, guaranteed buy-back program with American Capital, which offers financing and leasing solutions. He has informally reached out to surrounding districts, with the thought that a group may bring lower prices.

As part of the River Bend School District's career/college readiness plan, the Workforce Collaborative, introduced just this September, is a meeting of businesses and community involvement class students about post-graduation desired skills.

The program is part of Illinois PaCE – Postsecondary and Career Expectations – which is the state's career readiness document. It highlights points of knowledge that should be available to students at grade levels eight through high school. These target concepts are based around career exploration and development, financial aid and literacy, and post-secondary education exploration, preparation and selection.

"We've created our own PaCE doc," Hogue said. "It establishes activities that the school would be planning that will help students K through 12 experience career and college-planning goals and activities."

From the original meeting, Hogue found that students needed to find out information for the future a little sooner. Christina Mahoney, a member of the district's Citizen Advisory Committee, noted that colleges want you well-rounded — that it doesn't help the student to learn what they should have been doing once they reach their senior year.

Right now only offered to the community involvement class, though that looks to change, students enter a real discussion about the future.

"(Some students felt) had I not done this, I would not have known that I wanted to do this, or even more so I learned I don't want to be this person… and that is extremely valuable," Hogue said.

Representatives from various business sectors are present at the meetings. The next meeting is set for Dec. 7.

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