2014 – 2015 Tentative Budget Approved
Each fiscal year, High School District 211 creates a budget for the upcoming school year. The tentative budget for the 2014-2015 academic year was approved by the Board of Education at its Aug. 14 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 following a public hearing at its Sept. 18 meeting, the Board will vote to adopt the plan for the upcoming year. All school districts must finalize and approve a budget no later than Sept. 30.
The goal of the tentative budget is to have a conservatively planned and balanced budget, meaning expenditures do not exceed revenues in each of the main operating funds, as outlined by the State Board of Education. The budget also outlines funding for current and future District-wide capital improvement projects.
Overall, revenue for the 2014-2015 is projected at$240.8 million, a 1.4 percent decrease from the 2013-2014 actual revenue; primarily due to the anticipated timing of categorical state funding and reduced levels of funding for Federal programs. The District is projecting an overall favorable budget surplus of $6.7 million for 2014-2015 in its main operating funds, which include educational, operations and maintenance, transportation, IMRF, and working cash funds. Overall, the District will see a $23.5 million planned budget deficit in the aggregate of all funds, which is the result of using existing fund balance reserves to fund capital improvement projects, iPad lease payments, and the Tax Levy abatement. The planned deficit also assumes use of contingency funds, which the District has appropriated $1 million toward, but historically has not had to use.
“The District’s budget is a good story,” said Lauren Hummel, chief operations officer in District 211. “We have balanced budgets in all of our main operating funds, despite an overall decrease in revenue; and we also have a plan to utilize our existing reserves to fund major capital projects throughout the District. The deficit budget is one that was intentional and has been a part of a long-term plan.”
Despite a decrease in revenue, no instructional programs have been changed or altered, and will continue to expand and improve. The District has seen a decrease in state and federal payments since last school year, resulting in a greater reliance on local revenue sources.
“Decreased financial support from state and federal sources is creating a greater reliance on local revenue sources, maybe more than ever before,” Hummel said.
Another noteworthy budget item this year is the utilization of $2 million of reserves to further abate the Debt Service fund levy and continue the positive levy reduction plan that has been in place since 2007. Since 2007, the District has reduced its overall levy by $24.3 million, and this additional payment this year would increase total levy reductions to $26.3 million. 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.
A public hearing and vote for final approval and adoption of the tentative budget will take place on Sept. 18 at the G.A. McElroy Administration Center, 1750 S. Roselle Rd. To view the proposed budget, please visit the District 211 website.