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Education

Johnsburg District 12 prepares for 'worst-case scenario'

JOHNSBURG – The deficit for District 12 could hit almost $1.1 million this year.

Aging facilities and dropping enrollment have hit the Johnsburg district hard, Superintendent Dan Johnson said. The school board is working on two budgets.

One, approved Monday evening, projects a deficit of about $274,000 over its nine funds, including a $744,000 deficit in the education fund, and is the budget the district is shooting for.

The approved budget includes $810,000 in cuts, including some deferred operations and maintenance projects, the elimination of six certified personnel plus other noncertified staff and a halved technology budget, Johnson said.

A second “worst-case scenario” will be on next month’s agenda after a 30-day public viewing period, said board member Michelle Martin, who is also the chairwoman of the finance committee.

This amended budget takes into account what the district actual spent versus what it budgeted for over the past three years, and puts the projected deficit at just under $1.1 million, Business Manager Kim Giovanni said.

“This board wanted to make sure that we brought in contingencies and things like that to become more in line with the trend from the last couple of years,” she said. “That’s what led us to the amended budget.”

Most of the difference between the budgets lies in expected expenditures, in particular costs associated with maintaining its buildings, Giovanni said. Those projects won’t happen unless they need to.

The board will continue to examine potential places to cut, looking at “all sorts of things,” Johnson said.

Regardless of which budget the district ends up closer to, the district expects to operate in a deficit and likely will need to borrow to make ends meet, Johnson said. The district has had to do short-term borrowing the past three years to cover costs as it waited for revenues to come in.

Dropping enrollment – the district lost another 100 students this year compared to the additional 30 or so students it had expected to lose – has translated into $750,000 less in state aid, he said.

As new impact fees from development dried up, the district also spent down the accumulated fees it had built, Johnson said. That money is now gone.

Both budgets are set to be on the district’s website, www.johnsburg12.org, in its “Public Information” section Tuesday.

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