Proposed Geneva Schools Budget Balanced—On a Tightrope

State payments will make the difference between a surplus and a deficit, officials state

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.

Lou B. April 13, 2011 at 01:33 PM
"the 2011-2012 school year budget predicts total revenues of $54.7 million, including $1.2 million in new property tax receipts" - In sum... Tax-To-The-Max School Board is at it again. To Repeat... "1.2 million in NEW property tax receipts." That would be HIGHER TAXES FOR THE GENEVA HOMEOWNER, for a sweet 3.5% (9.5 % over last three years) boost in teacher pay + step and lane increases. Thank God these teachers care so much about the children... where are the new programs?
Rick Nagel April 13, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Donna Oberg, District 304 assistant superintendent for business, called to say that the 3.5 percent increase for teachers that Bob mentions in his comment does include the step and lane increases. That's an important distinction, because many other districts do report those separately—meaning some teachers in those district would get, say, a 3.5 percent salary increase AND a step increase. In Geneva, there is no additional increase other than the 3.5 percent, Oberg said.
Bob McQuillan April 13, 2011 at 08:38 PM
In reviewing the teachers contract for 2009-2012, I don't believe the 3.5 % increase includes the step & lane increases. First, a step increase means that you have one year additional experience, so every year you go up 1 step. On page 21, paragraph I states that if a teacher is employes as of Nov.1, they qualify for a step advancement the next year. Lane advancement means that you have had a change in your degree. Either you received your masters or phd since the prior year. Looking at an example from the 2010-11 & 2011-12 salary schedules on page 42 & 44 reveals the following, a teacher in 2010-11 in step 5 and lane 1 earned a base salary of $43,310. In 2011-12 when they move to step 6 but remain in lane 1 the base salary is $45,192. That is an increase of $1,882 or 4.34%.
Jim J April 13, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Ms. Oberg is trusted with balancing a school district budget but can't set up a login and type her own comment to correct a perceived error? Interesting. Andy, didn't you see the school board election results? Genevans (or at least the paltry percentage that turned out to vote) don't seem to care about higher taxes. You know, "as long as it's for the kids". Jim James
Lou B. April 13, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Possibly Ms. Oberg could make another call and reply to Mr. McQuillan's response. Geneva residents deserve more transparency from the school board, a board who's members, for once, seem strangely silent on The Patch. What is the teacher pay increase, all factors included? Anyone out there from the School Board care to comment? It seems that Mr. McQuillan's response reaffirms his initial claim, and points to a nice 4.34% increase (in just one year).


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