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Dist. 202 OKs tentative $250M budget; Sept. 28 public hearing set

8/18/2015, 9:20 a.m.
The school board is expected to sign off on the 2015-16 spending plan on the same date as the public ...

District 202 provided this news release:

The Plainfield District 202 Board of Education approved placing the proposed 2015-16 budget on public display for 30 days as required by law at its Monday night meeting.

The Board is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2015-16 budget at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28, and vote on the document at its regular meeting that same night.

OPERATING BUDGET DETAILS

District 202's proposed 2015-16 operating budget shows expected revenues exceeding anticipated expenses by about $3 million, depending on state funding.

District officials expect to receive $253.1 million in operating fund revenues, up about $5.1 million or about 2 percent over the 2014-15 (unaudited) budget, which showed $248 million in revenues.

The proposed budget shows $250 million in operating expenses. That's up about $6.4 million or about 2.6 percent over the 2014-15 (unaudited) budget, which included about $243.6 million in expenses.

As always, administrators stressed, the budget's health depends on the state meeting its funding obligations.

As they did last year, district officials are again "prorating" state funding at 85 percent of reimbursable expenses.

"Prorating" is the practice of budgeting general state aid at less than what the state actually owes local school districts or even what is telling districts to expect just in case the state once again reduces funding. The state is projecting general state aid funding at about 89 percent.

The state has reduced its share of education funding numerous times since the recession hit in 2008.

At this point, it appears that the 2015-16 budget will be balanced for the third straight year as the economy continues to strengthen and the district controls expenses.

The proposed 2015-16 budget essentially maintains staffing, service and building budgets at current levels. It does not include funding for any major new initiatives, programs or capital expenses.

Salaries are expected to increase by 2.7 percent to 4.9 for teachers and 2.5 percent for administration and non-union support staff.

Contract negotiations continue with the Plainfield Association of Support Staff (PASS). However, the proposed budget includes sufficient funds for an expected salary increase for employees covered by the PASS agreement.

The proposed budget also includes a $1 million contingency for building-specific enrollment changes and special education needs. It also reflects a 7.5 percent increase in health care costs.

District 202 endured four years of fiscal austerity and 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.