D-300 transfers funds, corrects accounting error

ALGONQUIN – The District 300 board Monday transferred $8.3 million from other areas into the education fund, correcting a property tax accounting error that had gone unnoticed for eight years.

Officials from the Carpentersville-based school district stressed that the district doesn't lose any money with the transfers. The board's unanimous move ensures that each operating fund in the district correctly has the recorded property tax amount, said Chief Financial Officer Susan Harkin.

"We had to transfer our levy dollars from one fund to another, but they weren't necessarily recording it right in the last eight years," Harkin said.

In January, the board finance committee was made aware of the accounting discrepancy after Harkin spotted it nearly a year-and-a-half into her tenure as District 300's CFO.

The $8.3 million transferred from the district's transportation, and operation and maintenance funds corrects a discrepancy made from the "complication and timing" of how the numerous counties within District 300's territory extends property taxes, Harkin said.

After setting levies in April, Kane and McHenry counties typically will readjust District 300's property taxes in the summer to reflect Cook County's final numbers for the district, Harkin said. Unlike Kane and McHenry counties, Cook County finalizes levies in June.

The timing of those readjustments caused District 300 to "over-record" $4.6 million in the education fund this tax year and "under-record in other funds," Harkin said. The fund transfers made Monday corrects the books.

The remaining transfer satisfies a board policy that stipulates each operating fund have at least 25 percent of its expenditures in reserves. The education fund before the board's move had about 5 percent while other funds were above the threshold, Harkin said.

In other business, new CEO Fred Heid unveiled a proposed format change to the district board meetings one week into his tenure.

During its next meeting June 23, the board will look at possible meeting dates for a new "workshop," Heid said. The workshops would take place two weeks before regularly-scheduled board meetings and allow members to ask Heid and staff questions about forthcoming agenda items.

It would not replace the district's existing board committees, like a committee of the whole would do.

"It's intended to expedite the board meetings but also make sure I'm doing my due diligence to the board in providing them adequate time and information, so they can make informed decisions," Heid said.

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