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District 202 Anticipating $8.1 Million Upcoming Deficit

School board members want to see what kind of non-personnel cuts can be made and what impact those cuts will have on students.

board members have big budgetary decisions to make in the coming months.

On the one hand, the district is expected to see a roughly $7.8 million surplus from the 2011-12 budget thanks to more efficient transportation routes, decreased utility bills and other cost-control measures. An audit, which will determine the exact surplus, is scheduled to begin next month, but district officials said the revenues should exceed expenses by between $7 million and $8 million.

On the other hand, the district is anticipating an $8.1 million deficit in the upcoming 2012-13 budget.

Superintendent. John Harper said at a special school board meeting on Monday that the school board needs to decide if it is willing to adopt a budget with an $8.1 million deficit or see what type of cuts should be made to erase the deficit.

Harper said the school board could use the 2011-12 surplus to help dig the district out of its upcoming deficit, but doesn't recommend it because there are so many uncertainties right now on how much funding the district will receive from the cash-strapped state. The likelihood of the state shifting its teacher pension responsibilities to local school districts will cause “a slow death” to districts across the state, Harper said.

Now, the $7.8 million anticipated surplus is being added to the district’s fund balance, which gives the district about a $30 million reserve, according to Angela Smith, the assistant superintendent for business and operations.

With monthly expenditures at about $18 million, the district only has less than a two-month reserve. Ideally, Smith said, districts should have about a six month fund balance, but the district is shooting for a three-month reserve.

District 202 is one of 11 percent of districts statewide with less than a three month fund balance, Smith said.

School board members on Monday said they would like to see what non-personnel cuts can be made and what impact those cuts will have on education.

Board members said they would also like to see some or all of the $7.8 million surplus going towards reducing the 2012-13 deficit. They also indicated they would like to see a long-range plan developed to build up their fund balance to a 90-day cushion.

“How do you build a fund balance when you are deficit spending?” said board secretary Eric Gallt.

No vote was taken Monday.

The budget will be put on public display Aug. 10. A public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 10 and the board plans to adopt the budget on Sept. 24.

The board can amend the budget when it learns more about the state’s pension funding plans as well as when it sees a list of proposed cuts and their impact.

silentrippy July 31, 2012 at 01:10 PM
And the school board approved a $180,000 property tax break for the expansion of Diageo and property owners still get a tax hike. You can rest assured more tax hikes are coming with the shift of pension costs to the school districts. The school board better start making sure teachers contribute more to their pensions, increase their health care contributions, and no more wage increases. It's either that or start reducing the personnel.
Plainfield Resident July 31, 2012 at 01:29 PM
This is beyond ridiculous! Last year or so, there was mention of having a positive in their funding, now it's gone again? Who the heck is permitting the mis-spending of funds? PSD (NOT the State of Illinois) needs to figure it out on HOW to spend money appropriately and BUDGET. Quit taking away from these kids....which is who it's supposed to be about, but, nowadays, it's not a matter of being about the kids it's about a 'business'. These schools are nothing but a 'business'! Take tips from New Lenox........they have a phenominal system and NOT a deficit. What about Oak Lawn schools - they have plenty on reserve, again, no deficit. Start w/ eliminating the people behind the scenes (administrative) and getting a new school board if you can't figure it out. This has gone on way too long! WAY TO LONG!
Sheila Raddatz July 31, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Plainfield needs to start attracting BIG business to help our tax base. No more pizza or burger joints, no more granite dealers and no more auto repair shops--we are saturated. We need something new to keep money in our district without more tax increases on the residents and existing businesses. http://joliet.patch.com/articles/largest-building-in-joliet-s-history-receives-city-council-approval
Tim July 31, 2012 at 02:57 PM
This is a simple fix. The teachers union simply has to pay for their own pension, instead of having the board of education pay it for them. D202 is one of 64% of school districts in IL where the BOE pays the full amount of the employee contribution, instead of the individual employees paying it like they were meant to under the spirit of the pension laws. http://www.illinoispolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=4844 Why are they not addressing this most obvious, and largest, budget item?
Melissa July 31, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Amen to that TIm!
concernedresident August 01, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Tim very good point, I know that I have to contribute 100% for my 401K
oldschool August 01, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Before everyone jumps on the teachers and their pensions, start at the top....how many administrators does this district have? And how much will they be making in their retirement?
Tim August 01, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I'm all for addressing that as well, they should be subject to pension reforms as well. However, administration is not the biggest non-labor expense of the district. The teachers union pension is. This is not about 'jumping' on anyone, it is about fiscal sustainability for the long-term.
John Roberts August 07, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Ron Paul get big government out of the school system....Joliet central got all of that money to build an addition to the school.that same year my kids came to me and said that the school is about out of paper to print on and ink for printers cause the school is BROKE. All while receiving that money expecting the children to have higher grades and when they did not the government blamed the teachers. Now here it is 8 million deficit? Watch what they try to cram down your kids throat this year. The education these kids are getting is ridiculous I have seen questions on my kids work that asks for OPINION and are told their Opinion is wrong. That is govermnet guidance to keep the kids thinking like they are. Why is it that our kids are in high school still take 3 months to learn about black history month when they have learned it since kindergarten.my kid in 11 came home with a coloring project,with little flip up papers with sayings under them while kids in china learn computer chips and how to,assemble motherboards,the brains of the computers.

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