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District 26 to present balanced budget

CARY – While preparing for a possible pension shift from the state to local school districts and bringing back art and music teachers, School District 26 is proposing a balanced budget for the upcoming school year.

The tentative $36.2 million budget includes $2 million for capital projects and sets aside $250,000 in case the state decides to shift the cost of pension contributions to school districts. Capital projects include paving work, a roof repair that is underway at Three Oaks School, security upgrades and a telephone upgrade in the district.

Money also is in the budget to bring back dedicated art and music teachers to the 2,500-student district. Average class size is expected to be 25 to 30 students, and the district plans to implement the third year of its technology plan, as well as the second year of its textbook adoption plan.

The spending plan has a $158,500 surplus in its operating funds for fiscal 2014.

“That’s a little bit to work with for next fiscal year,” Director of Finance and Operations T. Ferrier said at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

This is the fourth consecutive balanced budget for the district.

“The district FY ‘14 tentative draft fund budget represents a continued improved financial picture for the district,” Ferrier said.

If given the OK by the school board, the budget would be put on public display next week. The district expects to have its board vote on the budget at its July meeting.

Even though revenue from the state is expected to drop again, the district expects higher amounts than originally projected, Ferrier said.

“The district has become more and more reliant on that property-tax income,” Ferrier said.

In other discussion, the district plans to formalize a shared services agreement with Crystal Lake District 47 on two shared staff members for students with disabilities.

During the 2012-13 school year, the two districts shared two employees: a vision/orientation and mobility staff member and a hearing itinerant staff member. Each district paid for the proportion of time the staff member worked in their schools.

For the 2013-14 school year, the districts plan to formalize the agreement. District 26 will pay for 80 percent of the hearing teacher cost and 50 percent of the vision teacher cost, under the proposed agreement.

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