District 200 passes balanced budget

WOODSTOCK – District 200 will dip into reserves for a second consecutive year to keep a balanced budget.

The district’s school board last week approved an $88.5 million budget for fiscal 2013-14. School officials chose to use about $840,000 in education fund reserves.

Last year, the district budgeted $1.5 million from the same fund but used only about $200,000 of it because of changes to property-tax collections, state revenues and expenditures that occurred after the budget was finalized.

District 200 Chief Financial Officer Risa Hanson said the district was hopeful the effect would be the same this year.

“It depends on how revenues come in,” Hanson said.

Thanks in large part to a boost in funding from the state, the district’s revenues for the current budget jumped about 7 percent from fiscal 2012-13 to nearly $62.2 million.

Hanson said a $2.9 million increase in state aid comes thanks to a decline in the district’s equalized assessed value. The impact that a change in the EAV has on a district’s state aid generally is delayed two years, she added.

The district also has budgeted to take in an extra $1 million through property taxes.

But the district will have to rely on reserves despite the extra revenue because of added expenses, which total about $3.2 million.

Expenditures toward staff salaries jumped $3 million – about 7.3 percent – from last year. Hanson said new hires as well as raises for existing employees account for the increase.

“It’s the increase in staffing levels, certainly, that’s driving that,” Hanson said.

The district added special education teachers and staff to accommodate its expansion in in-house special education services, Hanson said.

The district is satisfied with how the budget turned out, she said.

“As always, we’ll look at efficiences and we’ll continue to monitor the budget and make sure we’re operating within our restrictions,” she said.

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