Danville school board approves deficit budget plan for display

Danville school board approves deficit budget plan for display

DANVILLE — The public can now view the Danville school district's proposed spending plan, which projects a $2.43 million deficit.

The Danville school board on Wednesday approved putting the proposal on display at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., for the next 30 days. A vote on adopting will be later.

Meantime, the public can review the plan and offer feedback, Business and Finance Director Heather McKiernan said.

Under the proposal, the district would spend a little more than $66.1 million during the fiscal year, which started on July 1 and runs through June 30, 2013, but bring in only about $63.67 million in revenue.

The education fund — which pays for most salaries and day-to-day expenses — would spend about $50.17 million but generate $49.87 million in revenue, leaving a $304,257 shortfall.

Officials attributed the shortfall to a decrease of about $917,000 in property taxes, a $600,000 decrease in general state aid and the ending of a federal jobs bill grant that provided $1.2 million last year and $1.3 million the year before.

Earlier this year, the district cut about $535,000 in personnel expenses, by eliminating more than a dozen teaching jobs and other positions through attrition, and another $100,000 in textbooks, supplies and other items to prepare for the loss.

The district will cover the deficit with reserve funding. That would bring the district's fund balance from $20.27 million to about $17.84 million.

The board also reviewed the 2012 test scores. While the district and all schools but Northeast Elementary Magnet School failed to make adequate yearly progress last year, officials said they were pleased to see that students overall are improving.

The scores showed 62.9 percent of students in the district met or exceeded the state's reading target, up 2.1 percent from 2011. And 70.1 percent of students met or exceeded the math target, up 1.9 percent from the previous year.

Black students increased 4.2 percent in reading and 3 percent in math; Hispanic students increased 6.4 percent in reading and 3 percent in math; and low-income students increased 3.5 percent in reading and 2.5 percent in math.

"That shows we're closing the achievement gap," said Diane Hampel, director of the district's educational support program.