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District 202 Budget on Display with $8.9 Million Deficit

District 202 board to also consider placing locked gun safes in the district high schools and granted a five-year tax abatement to a global baked goods manufacturer

has put its 2012-13 budget on public display with a projected $8.9 million operating fund deficit.

While the school board is preparing to adopt the budget next month with a deficit, it is also working on ways to erase it and will likely file an updated amended budget with the state in early 2013.

Finances continue to change weekly, district officials said. Last month, the district anticipated an operating fund deficit of $8.1 million, but then district officials learned that its general state aid dropped by about $1.2 million. Other revenues, including Title I, funding increased.

Meanwhile, state officials are trying to decide if teacher pension plan responsibilities will be shifted to local school districts.

“We’re trying to put a puzzle together without all the pieces,” said Angela Smith, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations.

The proposed operating budget includes $242 million in expenses, compared with $242.2 million last year (down 1 percent), while operating revenues are at $233.1 million, down from $242.8 million last year, a decrease of 4 percent, according to the district.

State funding has decreased by about $9 million, or 11 percent, from last year, district officials said.

The district plans to see whether to spend some or all of an anticipated $7.5 million surplus from the 2011-12 budget to help reduce the deficit, Smith said. The administration is also looking at non-personnel cuts to bring to the board in the coming months for consideration, she said.

The budget is on the district website (www.psd202.org) under “Announcements.” A public hearing will be held at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 24 at the administrative center before the board votes on it.                                          

Board mulls gun safe purchase

In other news, the district will consider a proposal from the to buy and install four gun safes in the high schools in the event there is an active shooter in the building.

The board will continue to review the proposal next month, but will first work with its legal department on the language for the possible agreement.

Under the proposal brought forth by the Plainfield Police Department, a secure gun safe would be installed in the office of the school resource officer, allowing the officer quick access to their AR-15 rifle in case there is a shooter in the building.

If approved, the safes would be installed at , , and . falls under the Joliet Police Department’s jurisdiction.

According to the police department’s memo, if an active shooter were inside the high school, the school resource officer would be first to respond, and officers are better equipped to handle this type of incident with a long gun, such as an AR-15 rifle, rather than with a handgun. The rifle is more accurate at longer distances, giving the officer a greater ability to handle the situation, the memo said.

School board president Roger Bonuchi said the police department conducts drills yearly on handling school shootings.

“The police department is right on top of that to protect our schools,” he said.

Tax Abatements

Finally, the school board on Monday approved a five-year tax abatement for Aryzta, LLC, a Switzerland-based food business with a focus on bakery goods.

Aryzta is looking to build a $90 million facility and employ more than 240 people on District 202 land in Romeoville, according to the Will County Center for Economic Development. The company is looking to build on a potential site in the Boldt Park industrial development, 1120 W. Crossroads Parkway, and the Will County CED asked the district to consider a five-year 50 percent abatement program to help develop the project.

The land now generates about $22,000 in property taxes per year for the district, Smith said. Under the abatement proposal, the district is anticipated in receiving nearly $286,000 in revenue per year, she said.

The district’s Foundation for Excellence will also receive $15,000 from the company over the course of three years, according to the tax abatement agreement.

When approving the tax abatement plan, board member Rod Westfall said companies could have easily taken their investment and jobs elsewhere, but are choosing to locate here.

“Fifty percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing,” he said.

Mayhem August 21, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Here is an idea for you...... How about you cut all the "fat and dead weight" from the different departments. The maintenance building over on Eastern sure has a lot of nothing going on in there. Employees sitting in their cars on cell phones, walking around in the parking lot without shoes on, PSD work trucks or vans being used to conduct "personal business". Someone isnt paying close enough attention to the hired help.
silentrippy August 21, 2012 at 04:50 PM
The board simply needs to eliminate employees. Union contracts need to be negotiated so the employee pays more for their health insurance. I like how they are talking about an 8+ million dollar deficit and they are still giving tax abatements to corporations. My slice of the property tax went up over $350 last year just for the school district. Is Mr. Baker going to give homeowners the same tax abatement when they build a house locally? They could choose to live somewhere else. Fifty percent is better than a hundred percent of nothing....right Rod? The voters need to wake up and vote for a school board that takes our tax dollars in the best interest and not give money away to corporate America. Here again, the school board is screwing the little ones like us.
RB August 21, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Did you actually read the article? This land generates 22k now and will generate 286K , even with the temporary tax break. It will also create jobs. Is it so difficult to understand?
silentrippy August 21, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I actually did. Why is corporate America the only ones who are allowed to do this? Every time the school board approves a tax abatement, they are setting the standard for every business that moves to the area. Diageo, Springs at 127th, and now Arysta. An empty lot in town might pay about $1000 in property taxes and one with a house might be 10k. Why are residential owners allowed to have the same property tax break? Any developed land will increase property tax revenue. If you think people are just going to run away from Plainfield Distrist because they won't get a tax break you are simply delusional. They can give the tax abatements away once my property taxes are frozen or reduced. Mine along with everyone elses are still going up and the board can't get a grip on their finances. Maybe these corporations are asking for tax abatements because the school district lives well beyond the means of fiscal responsibility.
RB August 21, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I’m typically critical of Corporate America and I agree the District has to do a better job controlling their finances. But we have to stop and think why the district is in difficulties and how they can get out of it. The truth is – this school district invested way too much money in new school based on wrong projections of a booming real estate market last decade. Plainfield East HS is gigantic building surrounded by nothing but corn. When they decided to build it, they were certainly expecting to have more subdivisions in that area for example. Cutting deals with corporations to bring new business to the area is a pro-business way of getting out of the hole they are in. If they focus only on cutting jobs, they will have to cut a lot and affect quality of services before they can get a balanced budget. Compare the tax breaks these companies are getting with residential property tax is non-sense. They didn’t have to give big tax breaks for the builders to build your home or mine. The houses were already there and we bought them and are now on the hook for the tax. If we had not bought them somebody else would and they would collect the taxes just the same. On the other hands these companies do not need to build their warehouses or plants here. They can pick the place that can be more attractive and tax breaks are a big part of it. If Plainfield doesn’t do it, they will collect the 20K for the vacant lot. That is the cold hard really, like you or not.
Tina August 22, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I hope the board makes cuts for a balanced budget. Do not use any surplus for an easier( or less painful) fix. Fix the problem now- think further than 1 year ahead. If they use the surplus, they are taking away their cushion, but that is what I think they will do( like last year...don't use that extra million to pay off a loan, keep a few more employees for 1 more year)
JeffK August 22, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Congrats to John Noak for landing another business. I wish he was the Plainfield President. silent rippy. The employees do pay more for health insurance and took a pay freeze. How much has it helped? The board just gave their spouses raises and hired back deans that aren't needed. This board is one of the most incompetant in the State of Illinois. The village is right behind them. There are plenty of school districts with a surplus. They have not had to cut jobs or make their teachers scapegoats. The difference is they have intelligent honest people on their boards.
BIGMOUTH September 06, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Need new board members not related to anyone working in the school district. I may even run........................

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