Dist. 202 gives tentative OK to $250M budget
8/19/2014, 11:18 a.m.
Plainfield School District 202, with schools in Plainfield, Joliet, Romeoville and Bolingbrook, provided this story from its Monday night meeting:
District 202's proposed 2014-15 budget is expected to be balanced at the end of the fiscal year for the second straight year, as the economy continues to strengthen and the district controls expenses.
The Board of Education at its regular meeting August 18, 2014 approved putting the proposed 2014-15 operating budget on public display for 30 days as required by law.
The proposed budget is posted on the front page of the District 202 web site,
http://www.psd202.org. Hard copies are available at the District 202 Administrative Center, 15732 Howard St., Plainfield.
The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed 2014-15 budget at 6:30 p.m. Monday, September 22, 2014, at the district administrative center. The Board is then expected to vote on the proposed budget at its regular meeting that same night. The public session will start at 7:30 p.m.
The proposed 2014-15 budget essentially maintains staffing and service at current levels following four years of fiscal austerity, significant budget cuts made to counter the ongoing effects of a weakened economy and 10 years of unprecedented growth.
From 2009-2012, District 202 cut about $42 million in operating expenses, mostly by eliminating about 345 full-time teaching, support staff and administrative positions.
As always, administrators stressed, the budget's health depends on the state meeting its funding obligations.
PROPOSED BUDGET DETAILS
District officials expect to receive $250.7 million in operating fund revenues, up about $7.8 million or about 3 percent over the 2013-14 amended budget, which showed $242.9 million in revenues.
The proposed budget shows $250 million in operating expenses. That's up about $8 million or about 3.3 percent over the 2013-14 amended budget, which included $242 million in expenses.
As they did last year, district officials are again budgeting general state aid at less than what the state has told districts to expect - 85 percent of reimbursable expenses versus the state's projected 89 percent -- just in case the state once again reduces funding.
The state has reduced its share of education funding numerous times since the recession hit in 2008.
However the proposed 2014-15 budget includes enough money to pay for numerous important costs:
- Maintain school allocations at last year's levels
- Support departmental expenses related to continued implementation of the new Common Core State Learning Standards, including the first round of assessment next spring
- Support the Board's Strategic Plan goals for this year
- Provide for contracted and projected pay raises for support staff, administrators and teachers; the teacher contract is currently being negotiated
- Cover increased benefits costs due to the Affordable Care Act.
District administration also recommended that the district continue working to increase its operating fund balance at a level high enough to sustain regular operations for 60 days if revenues ceased. The proposed new budget's fund balance is now enough to keep the doors open for 40.4 days.
Several neighboring districts all have significantly larger contingency funds - enough to support between 73 and 215 days of operations.