2013-2014 Tentative Budget Approved

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edit_accounting_paper_glasses_calculatorEach fiscal year, High School District 211 creates its tentative budget for the upcoming school year. The tentative budget for the 2013-2014 academic year was approved by the Board of Education at its Aug. 15 meeting, and is available for public viewing on the District website and at local libraries.  In accordance with School Code, the budget will be available for public review for 30 days, and the Board will vote to adopt the plan for the upcoming year at its Sept. 26, 2013 meeting. All school districts must finalize and approve a budget no later than Sept. 30.

This year marks another financially sound and balanced budget for District 211, according to Dave Torres, associate superintendent for business. The goal is to have a balanced budget, meaning expenditures and revenues are comparable by category and fund, as outlined by the State Board of Education. The budget also outlines planning for future District-wide projects.

“We believe this budget represents our continuing effort to prioritize expenditures to best support our instructional program,” Torres said.

Overall, the working budget for the 2013-2014 is $239.8 million. For 2012-2013, the previous school year, the District ended the year with a favorable $8.8 million budget balance. The District has been working hard to maintain a balanced budget, healthy reserves, and planned levy reductions continue to represent positive fiscal trends for District 211.

Each of the District’s operation funds, which include educational, operations/maintenance, transportation, and working cash funds, maintain a positive surplus balance of $7.1 million. The 2013-2014 tentative budget is planned to be $9.3 million over in expenditures compared to revenue due to the planned debt service levy reduction, approved life safety projects, and building renovations at Palatine High School. This over-budget condition also assumes use of contingency, however, the District has appropriated contingency amounts in its operating funds and has not used these emergency funds.

A significant part of the budget is funding for state-mandated life safety work, ensuring that all District 211 facilities are in compliance with applicable school building codes. During the 2012-2013 school year, the sale of $16 million in life safety bonds help fund continued life safety improvements mandated by the state. To fund capital improvement projects, such as pool renovations at Conant High School, and Palatine High School kitchen and main office renovations, the District implemented interfund transfers from the educational fund and operations/maintenance fund to the capital projects fund in the amount of $8.1 million.

“We are excited about the pool renovations that will offer enhanced opportunities for students in physical education and athletics,” Torres said.

Another noteworthy budget item this year is the utilization of $3.9 million deficit in the Debt Service Fund due to a positive levy reduction plan that has been in place since 2007. The debt service reduction strategy provides for the ongoing use of reserves to pay for a portion of principal and interest on outstanding bonds and reducing the debt service levy by the same amount. This results in a lower overall tax rate for taxpayers, and since 2007, the District has reduced its overall levy, saving taxpayers $24.3 million.

A large part of the District’s expenditures in 2013-2014 include salaries and benefits and projected personnel costs based on Board of Education approved salary funds and collective bargaining agreements, health insurance programs, and retirement costs. Each year, staffing costs are based directly on student enrollment and instructional programs. There is a process in place to review vacated positions, taking advantage of staffing efficiencies whenever possible.

The Board of Education will have the opportunity to review and discuss the tentative budget again at its Sept. 12 meeting, before a public hearing and vote for final approval and adoption on Sept. 26. To view the proposed budget, please visit BoardDocs on the District website.