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District 300 gets $4.4M in state aid, projects balanced budget

Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 11:08 p.m. CDT

CARPENTERSVILLE – An unexpected, $4.4 million increase in state aid has helped Carpentersville-based District 300 balance its tentative budget, but slight cuts in other areas will limit the district’s newfound surplus.

Chief Financial Officer Susan Harkin reported to board members earlier this week that the district’s $200-plus million spending plan now has a minor $100,000 surplus, after officials earlier this summer had projected a roughly $2 million deficit.

The deficit was erased after the district learned last month that it would receive a $4.4 million increase in general state aid that pays for educational services. Declining property values and slightly higher enrollment entitled the district to the largest allowable aid reimbursement from the state.

But the state also cut its transportation funding to the district by $800,000, which partly limits the new surplus.

“On the one hand, the state gives money, and on another hand, the state takes it away,” Harkin told members.

The district also added roughly $700,000 to teacher salaries, after officials hired 10 additional teachers than what previously was anticipated under the new teachers contract agreed upon last winter with its teachers union.

Coming into the school year, the district was projecting deficit spending throughout the three-year contract with LEAD 300 that expires in 2015. It called for more teacher hires to help reduce class sizes.

The personnel additions also have forced the district to spend more on supplies and textbooks, Harkin said. The district also added $300,000 to its technology budget to help fulfill a strategic goal that bolsters the use of technology in the classroom.

Board members are scheduled to meet Sept. 23 to approve the final budget, after the public has a chance to comment on the plan during a budget hearing earlier that evening.

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