D-47 approves budget, to name new facility

CRYSTAL LAKE – Crystal Lake School District 47 board members approved an $86.9 million budget Monday that carries a $492,716 deficit.

The 2013-14 budget includes $80.4 million in operating fund expenses where there is a $644,141 surplus after the state’s decision to prorate general state aid at 88.7 percent, providing more than $500,000 from original district projections.

Maintaining a surplus in the operating fund is the primary goal in board policy that mandates the ending operating fund balance can cover at least 90 days worth of expenses in emergencies. The overall deficit exists only because of expenses in the capital projects fund for one-time maintenance costs. The capital projects fund contained nine years’ worth of savings.

“The allocation from the state, surprisingly so, has come in stronger than we anticipated,” said board President Jeff Mason before commending staff for finding additional cuts from the original proposal.

The district will need to make structural changes to the budget moving forward as deficit spending over the next five years could total $1.1 million by fiscal 2017-18, according to projections.

Board member Nancy Gonsiorek said the district would not be able to continue to rely on reserves as it looks to reduce the projected $1.1 million deficit over the coming years.

“We’re in a new normal now. We can’t keep using reserves,” she said. “We’ll have to do some brainstorming and come up with some ways to reduce our expenses.”

Board members also settled on a name for the district’s future central operations center at 221 Liberty Road. The board asked community members to submit nominations of a person who has helped the well-being of the elementary school community, whose contribution is known to the community and who is not a living political figure.

Mason said submissions were overwhelmingly in favor of former teacher, principal and administrator Bill Fetzner. Fetzner was the youngest principal ever hired at the time he took over at South Elementary. He retired in 2005 as assistant superintendent of operations, overseeing the construction of three elementary schools and a middle school.

He died in 2011.

“His blood, sweat and tears are in every single building,” Mason said. “He was an amazing man and touched many many lives in this community.”

The facility is expected to house the district warehouse, curriculum storage, maintenance staff, print shop, food service and operations management. A formal naming ceremony will take place in October.

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