District 211 2016 – 2017 Tentative Budget Available for Review

budgetbook_postEach fiscal year, High School District 211 creates a budget for the upcoming school year. The tentative budget for the 2016-2017 academic year was approved by the Board of Education at its Aug. 18 meeting, and is available for public viewing on the District website and at local libraries.  In accordance with School Code, the budget is available for public review for 30 days, and following a public hearing at its Sept. 22 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. This year’s tentative budget was built on the following parameters:

  • A zero percent levy increase from the previous year;
  • A decrease in expenditures;
  • And no plans to issue debt to pay for capital improvement projects, which are currently in the fourth year of a five-year capital plan.

“The tentative budget is one that aligns with the District’s strategic plan,” said Lauren Hummel, chief operating officer at District 211. “It includes planned budget reductions, includes revenue that reflects the recent approval of a flat levy, and allows the District to optimize its debt management strategies.  Most importantly, it supports the needs of students by allocating the majority of our resources to the instructional program of the District.”

Overall, revenue for the 2016-2017 is projected at $242.6 million and is aligned with the District’s strategic priorities. Total revenue is slightly down by .2 percent due to timing of federal aid payments last year and higher than expected budgeted tax receipts for prior levy years. This is uncommon and was not budgeted for this year. Additionally, expenditures are down from last year by 1.2 percent, or $13 million, due to planned budget reductions and a decrease in capital spending.

The District is projected to have expenditures in excess of revenues, or a planned deficit, of $11.4 million due to the planned spending of reserves for capital projects and debt repayment.  The final payment on bonded debt will be next year, and the District is working toward being debt free in the future.

“Expenditures for the tentative budget are less than they were in total for the prior year,” Hummel said. “The tentative budget includes the planned use of existing resources to fund capital improvements and required life safety work without the need to issue debt.”

District 211 also plans to use existing reserves to pay down the unfunded liability amount with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), which will save the District future employer costs and provides the opportunity of further saving through investment earnings made by IMRF.  Overall, Fiscal Year 2017 total expenditures are less than Fiscal Year 2016 expenditure budget.

Despite a decrease in revenue, no instructional programs have been changed or altered, and will continue to expand and improve. Additionally, the District plans to optimize debt management, continue budget efficiencies, enhance academic programs, and budget surplus funds for future capital projects. Future projects include renovation in bathrooms and locker rooms original to the buildings, two kitchen renovations, mechanical equipment replacements, roof replacements at all schools, and outdoor facility replacements.

A public hearing and vote for final approval and adoption of the tentative budget will take place on Sept. 22 at the G.A. McElroy Administration Center, 1750 S. Roselle Rd. To view the proposed budget, please visit the District 211 website.

Five-Year Budget Projections Presented to Board of Education

finance business calculationIn order to sustain and uphold the educational excellence and extraordinary learning opportunities that District 211 has delivered for many years, the District maintains a five-year financial projection of revenues, expenditures, and fund balances.

The District five-year financial projection shows District 211 remains financially stable with a balanced budget over the next several years and maintains the ability to provide continued quality instructional programs. It has implemented budget reductions through efficiencies away from academic or extracurricular programs for students in anticipation of a loss of funding through state funding reductions and other legislative uncertainties.

“Our commitments to developing college and career readiness skills in today’s world demand that we provide quality instruction from highly qualified professionals within a rigorous curriculum that integrates the use of technology within effective learning environments and facilities,” said Lauren Hummel, chief operating officer at District 211. “We prepare our students with the skills and talents so that they can continue their full involvement in our communities, our local businesses, and our local economy.”

The financial projection information is updated periodically throughout the year based on audited cash actuals from prior years, budget and levy adoptions, changes in key economic indexes (CPI tied to Tax Cap), and legislative changes. To accomplish District 211’s goals requires excellent financial planning and strategy integrating the current financial position into a projected financial forecast that accounts for numerous influences, both within the organization and outside the control of the District.

For projections, the District establishes a financial calendar that incorporates both the tax levy and budget process. The calendar identifies the various steps in the budget development process and establishes tentative dates for completion. The District’s five-year financial projection plan is also used to identify necessary action to preserve the District’s financial integrity and outline short-term budget parameters.

Five-year projections plan for the District to be debt-free in 2019 and while continuing to save to fund future capital improvements including roof replacements, mechanical equipment replacement, bathroom and locker room renovations, and cafeteria kitchen renovations.

The preliminary budget assumptions have been incorporated into the 2016-2017 budget projections and include the following:

  • Allocate costs associated with achieving District academic goals
  • Maintain a balanced budget in accordance with the School Code (105 ILCS 5/17-1)
  • Maintain adequate fund balance within each of our major operating funds
  • Implement budget reductions of approximately $1.8 million in anticipation of decreased state funding
  • Anticipate property tax refund losses of $5 million
  • Allocate staffing costs based on enrollment and instructional programs
  • Allocate salary costs based on negotiated contracts and Board approved percentage increases
  • Allocate benefit and insurance costs based on projections developed in coordination with Hub International/Corporate Benefits Consultants, Inc.
  • Allocate $13.9 million in the Capital Projects Fund to be utilized for facility improvement projects
  • Allocate $1.9 million for approved Life Safety projects
  • Include fund balance transfers of $2.4 million for debt service levy abatement and iPad lease payments; $14 million for capital projects; and $3 million for current and future Life Safety projects.

For more information or to view specifics of the  five-year financial projection, please visit the board report here.

2014 – 2015 Tentative Budget Approved

Fotolia_66427384_Subscription_Monthly_MEach 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.

District 211 Presents Facilities and Capital Improvement Plans to Board of Education

District 211 logoThe High School District 211 administration presented its plans for long-range capital improvement projects through the next five years, as well as required Life Safety work and maintenance schedules.

Several facility and capital improvement projects are outlined for the next five school years and were presented to the Board of Education at its meeting on March 20. Although the Board has seen proposals in the past for some of the projects, such as swimming pool renovations, improvements and plans also were introduced for future consideration by the Board.

The District is currently in a strong financial position, and has worked to build reserves to use for the upcoming improvements. The projects, which correlate with educational goals, building utilization, and site improvement and maintenance schedules, are projected to total $52.5 million through the 2018-2019 school years. Bids will continue throughout the spring to finalize the cost for some of the upcoming approved and proposed projects.

Facility and Capital Improvement Planning Timeline (click to enlarge)

Facility and Capital Improvement Planning Timeline (click to enlarge)

“The District has been planning for long-term capital improvements over the past several years.  Our long term planning, budget reductions and operational efficiencies have put us in a strong financial position which would allow us the opportunity to fund these proposed projects in entirety through our use of reserves” said Lauren Hummel, Chief Operating Officer-Elect for District 211.

Facility and capital improvements include:

  • Proposed pool renovations at all five schools, beginning with Conant High School this summer;
  • Proposed renovation of Conant High School’s main office and guidance area this summer;
  • Approved wireless access point expansions at each building;
  • Proposed auditorium lighting and sound upgrades at four schools modeled after Hoffman Estates High School’s recent improvements;
  • Proposed media center upgrades;
  • Proposed athletic field upgrades;
  • Proposed second floor math and science corridor at Conant High School;
  • Negotiations to lease the former Barrington Orthopedic building adjacent to Hoffman Estates High School to house District alternative education programs; and
  • Proposed Adult Transition Program relocation at Palatine High School

Several renovations and improvements are upgrading facilities that date back to the 1960s and 1970s, which have served the District for many years due to regular maintenance schedules.

“It is such an exciting time for the District to able to propose a capital improvement plan that will positively impact every student in our district in one capacity or another,” Hummel said. “The plan allows us to make timely improvements to facilities that have served us well; some for 40+ years.”

Approved and proposed capital improvement projects also are in conjunction with scheduled Life Safety work.  Life Safety work is mandated by State Board of Education regulations within the School Building Code and the Health Life Safety Code, in addition to occupational safety standards of the Illinois Department of Labor.

The planning of these projects allows for the District to remain in a favorable financial position while utilizing reserve funds. Each new project will not interfere with other annual and cyclical maintenance and repair work, and will be staggered between different schools throughout the next five years. Project scheduling and considerations include planning and priority of scheduled Life Safety work, summer school impact, and funding resources.

To read more about upcoming and proposed building and capital improvement projects, please visit BoardDocs here.


District 211 Participation in Free and Reduced Lunch Program Ensures All Students Receive Healthy Food Options

cafeteriaHigh School District 211 has a diverse student population, and because of this, each school strives to ensure the needs of individual students are met. This is one reason District 211 participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

The program allows the District to provide qualifying students meals at a free or reduced rate based on household income. It’s beneficial for District 211 to participate in the program because it allows every student access to a meal that is nutritionally balanced and meets strict federal requirements.

“The program offers every student a meal choice at an affordable rate, and offers a growing number of students qualifying for free or reduced rate meals access to meals that they may not otherwise receive,” said Lauren Hummel, director of Food Service in District 211. “Additionally, operating this program is cost neutral for District 211.”

The program is governed through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the majority of applications are based on two criteria: the total household gross income and the number of people who live in the household. Each July, the USDA releases income criteria for the free and reduced lunch program, and it is based on the United States poverty level.

For the upcoming school year, a family of four would have to make less than $43,568 gross annual income to qualify for reduced meals; which is 185 percent of the Federal poverty level.  Free meal benefits are also available and income guidelines must fall below 130 percent of the poverty level, or be less than $30,615 annually for a family of four.

After the qualifying criteria are released, a mass mailing is sent to everyone in the District towards the end of July. Families complete the application, and if they meet the federal income guidelines, they are approved with income verification occurring throughout the year. There are some other special circumstances that qualify a student for free or reduced lunch, for example, if the student is considered homeless or if the family is already receiving “SNAP” benefits through the government. A qualifying student’s eligibility is kept confidential and is not identifiable at school.

“The District takes great measures to ensure that student confidentiality is protected for those receiving free or reduced rate meals,” Hummel said. “Our students use ID cards to access either meal benefits and/or their prepayment accounts. Because students use their ID cards to access both of these benefits, there is no identification of their eligibility in the serving lines.”

Over the past 10 years, District 211 has seen a rise in the number of students who qualify for the program. In 2003, the District had roughly eight percent of its student population receiving free or reduced lunch. The current qualifying student population is more than 30 percent. The increase in enrollment in the program isn’t unique to District 211 schools, but schools all over the region.

While schools participating in the National School Lunch Program receive government donated foods, District 211 has the ability to request only products that meet their high quality standards.  The District chooses to maximize their government funded support by choosing items such as fresh produce (often produced locally), frozen berries, and whole grain items which allow greater variety in the menus.

“Quality is of great importance to us.  We use many name brand products in school meals that you would find on the shelves in the grocery store,” Hummel said. “Meals also feature homemade breads and soups, fresh fruits and vegetables, and freshly prepared salads among other things. It is important for us to offer the same quality of food to all our students.”

Additionally, District 211 undergoes nutritional audits conducted by the Illinois State Board of Education to ensure that their meals meet strict nutritional criteria and offer students the proper nutrients.

“One of the most common questions that I hear is regarding pizza being served as a vegetable in school lunches. District 211 does not consider pizza or anything of the like as a vegetable.  We feel that it is important for a student to have access to fruits and vegetables that they can see, and also choose.  This is our time to educate students outside of the classroom.”

More information about the free and reduced lunch program can be found on the District website. Application information for the upcoming school year will be mailed to District 211 students toward the end of July.



Palatine High School Kitchen Renovations Will Maximize Efficiency, Serve More Students

Palatine Design Option 2 Revised-3Upcoming summer renovations at Palatine High School include several updates that will modernize the school building and increase operational efficiency for both students and staff.

Some of the larger renovations include the kitchen, cafeteria, and faculty dining room, which have not been updated since the school opened in the late 1970s. Although there are several reasons to update the kitchen based on maintenance and equipment, the layout and functionality for students and staff is a top priority.

“As it is currently set up, the kitchen at Palatine High School has a very inefficient floor plan for workflow,” said Lauren Hummel, director of food services in High School District 211. “We are trying to serve the largest number of students that we can and be able to feed them a nutritious meal in a quick manner. This renovation will help us achieve that goal.”

From an operational standpoint, renovations will include moving serving lines into the center of the kitchen so staff is able to feed students faster, as well as relocating the dish room.  The goal is to keep everything as central as possible in the kitchen for optimum efficiency.

For example, currently the PHS kitchen is long, and cooks need to walk with hot pans of food in opposite directions because this layout doesn’t allow staff to work in an ordered process. This order consists of cooking, followed by food and tray set-up, and then serving food to students and staff in a central area of the kitchen. Having a layout where staff can work in a straight line or order would eliminate staffing redundancies, help speed up the serving process, and eliminate safety and efficiency concerns.

Palatine High School has the largest number of students in District 211 that are eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, and it is the second busiest school in cafeteria food sales. The renovation will allow staff to serve more students within the same amount of time by increasing food capacity and layout. Additionally, those lines will allow for more cold food options, such as fruits and vegetables, by building food storage cases into the lines.

Students also will have access to a new “Grab and Go” line that will essentially utilize deli cases built into the kitchen to serve students who are looking for fast meal options. Food options will allow students to build a complete lunch by selecting various lunch components in the line, providing a quicker point-of-sale and freedom for them to choose their meal.

“We will be able to offer more variety in our food lines, including our ‘Grab and Go’ section, which I am very excited to see,” Hummel said. “From an operational standpoint, I am excited to see the dish room relocated so staff can better utilize that area to serve students.”

Additionally, the school will eliminate use of concession carts for miscellaneous food items. Alternative areas will be built where students can purchase similar items from a staff member, but will not require staff to transport items to a different location in the cafeteria.

“When we do a renovation, we expect it to last for a very long time,” Hummel said. “Of course we will have to repair and replace things here and there, but when we design our kitchens we try to keep things as flexible as possible because who knows what 30 years from now will be like. We try to be flexible in our equipment and design to be able to adjust to regulatory and operational changes.”

District 211 Participates in National School Breakfast Week, Stresses Importance of Meal

Fun facts such as these were posted throughout the week at Hoffman Estates High School.

Fun facts such as these were posted throughout the week at Hoffman Estates High School.

Although it’s stressed in schools, not every student has access to eat a nutritious breakfast to start the day. Some students might skip the meal because they don’t realize how important it is. During National School Breakfast Week, schools help encourage and educate students on why they should partake in what is considered the most important meal of the day.

District 211 is participating in National School Breakfast Week outlined by the School Nutrition Association. The week, which started on March 4 and continues through March 8, is to promote the importance of breakfast to students and how it’s beneficial not to skip.

“Regardless of where breakfast is consumed, it is truly one of the best ways to start the day,” said Lauren Hummel, director of food service in District 211. “Studies have consistently shown that breakfast not only improves classroom performance, test scores, and grades, but also decreases issues related to behavior and absenteeism.  Breakfast helps our bodies regulate our metabolism and blood sugar, as well.”

National School Breakfast WeekNational School Breakfast Week was established in 1989 in coordination with the School Nutrition Association.  It provides schools with the opportunity to highlight and promote the importance of school breakfast. The theme this year is “Be a Star with School Breakfast” and showcases how role models such as musicians, actors, and athletes need a healthy start every day to be successful. Even celebrities need to start their day with a healthy and balanced breakfast.

Fremd, Conant, and Hoffman Estates High Schools had their own campaigns to promote eating breakfast. Fremd High School is doing a breakfast with the principal on March 8. Conant High School is conducting a breakfast trivia game throughout the week with raffle prizes. Hoffman Estates High School is offering free fruit with each breakfast and has posted breakfast trivia throughout the cafeteria.

National School Breakfast WeekHummel said District 211 breakfasts are designed to meet guidelines for fat, calories, saturated fat, and other vitamins and minerals.  Students are offered a variety of hot and cold options that feature whole grains and various sources of protein in addition to milk and fruit or 100 percent fruit juice.

“District 211 breakfast participation has increased by over 40 percent in the last two years alone,” she said. “Breakfasts may include egg and cheese on a whole grain bagel, low-fat yogurt with a whole grain cereal bar, homemade breakfast burritos and homemade whole grain French toast. However, the all-time student favorite is the chicken on a biscuit sandwich.”

For more information on National School Breakfast Week, please visit the School Nutrition Association’s website.