Danville schools budget sees red by year's end

Danville schools budget sees red by year's end

As proposed, budget projects $2.46 million deficit

DANVILLE — The Danville school district would end the current fiscal year in the red under a proposed budget that will be presented today.

The preliminary spending plan, which covers July 1 through June 30, 2015, shows the district would take in about $65.27 million in revenue and spend about $67.73 million, leaving a shortfall of about $2.46 million.

Those figures include about $2.4 million in health, life safety bonds for building renovations and maintenance projects.

"So in reality, it's a $1.6 million (deficit) without the bonds," Superintendent Mark Denman said, adding it will be covered with reserve funds.

Under that scenario, the district — which began the year with about $20.62 million in reserves — would have an ending fund balance of about $19 million.

Officials said it's the same story, different year.

"Every year becomes a little tighter because of the increase in costs and the fact that we are continuing to receive pro-rated amounts of the state aid," business and finance Director Heather Smith said, adding the district will receive only 89 percent of its general state aid funding for a third year in a row. That's a loss of $3 million-plus this year.

"Just think what we could do with all of the money that we have been shorted, that our school district is entitled to based on the number of children we serve and the amount that we receive or don't receive from other revenue sources," Smith said. "We're doing our best to control the costs by bidding out all of our contracts on a regular basis to make sure we're receiving the best deals for the district. We are and will continue to watch every penny and make sure that we are spending the district's money on items that are needed and may have to hold off on the things that the district may want until our revenue stream is more certain at the state level."

The school board will review the proposal and vote on whether to put it on display for 30 days. It will vote on whether to adopt the final draft in September.

Under the plan, the education fund — which pays for day-to-day expenses and most salaries — would take in about $51 million and spend about $51.89 million, leaving a $869,023 deficit.

Smith anticipates receiving about $32 million in state funding, which makes up nearly 50 percent of the district's revenue. That includes about $27.4 million in general state aid.

"But we are actually entitled to $30.8 million," she said, adding that's "another $3.4 million we'll never see."

Smith said state funding for regular transportation will be pro-rated at 76 percent, the same as last year, while funding for special education will be pro-rated at 98 percent, also the same as last year.

"We are expecting two payments less this year because last year, we received one from 2012-13 and all four from 2013-14" for a total of five payments, Smith said.

"We were told not to expect all four again this year so we have budgeted for three," she continued, adding that could be $447,000 the district won't have this year.

The district anticipates receiving about $21.2 million in local revenue, which includes property taxes, corporate replacement taxes, vendor contracts, fees and interest.

Smith said the district will receive about $24,000 less in property taxes this year because of a 3.8 percent dip in the equalized assessed valuation of property in 2013.

"We did offset some of the decrease by increasing our as-needed funds such as (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Social Security) and tort," she said.

The district also anticipates receiving about $11.8 million in federal funding, including its $2 million School Improvement Grant.

This past spring, the district eliminated 10 positions — including two math coaches, seven teaching assistants and a family liaison — to save $368,720.

Meeting details

What: Danville school board meeting.

When: 6:30 p.m. today.

Where: Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St., Danville.

Sections (2):News, Local

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Man for Others wrote on August 20, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Based on the news coming from district offices, it must be negotiating time.  Nevermind that the finances were in such good shape recently that business director Smith managed to give herself a 12% raise over the past twelve months.  When is the community going to wake up to these games and tell the district that it's time to take care of the people who take care of our children?