The Illinois Legislature will determine whether School District 304 keeps its budget balanced next year or runs a small deficit, the Board of Education heard Monday.
“When I pulled together our preliminary numbers, I assumed that the state would make two of its four payments next year, but I’m not sure we’ll get two payments,” said Assistant Superintendent Donna Oberg. “Right now we’re projecting a $240,000 budget surplus, but that could change depending on what the state does.”
The “first look” snapshot of the 2011-2012 school year budget predicts total revenues of $54.7 million, including $1.2 million in new property tax receipts, a $211,000 federal grant for school safety and $55,000 in new student fees. The projected $54.5 million expense plan factors in an expected 11 percent hike in HMO insurance premiums; a 5 percent hike in PPO insurance plan premiums; a 50 percent hike in fees to the Fox Valley Career Center due to increased student enrollment; and a possible pay raise for teachers, who will start negotiations this fall for a new contract to begin in 2012-13.
A change in the federal government’s grant payout procedure will affect the district’s cash flow next year, Oberg added. Up until June 30, the Department of Education has paid grant money to local districts in monthly installments. Starting July 1, the department will require local districts to front the money to pay for grant-supported programs, then file for reimbursement.
“We have to have the money in hand first to spend grant money, which is a good reason to maintain high reserve fund levels,” Oberg noted.
When board members questioned whether they should trust the federal government to issue the reimbursements, Oberg said, “I’m not concerned about the feds coming through with their funding. I’m more concerned about the state coming through with its funding.”
Officials will post the preliminary budget report on the district’s website, www.geneva304.org, in the next few days. The board will discuss a more detailed budget proposal in May, said Superintendent Kent Mutchler.