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District 15 to consider nearly flat budget

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 1:54 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 11:34 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – The proposed budget for McHenry School District 15 looks a lot like the budget approved last year.

The elementary and middle school district made its proposed $67 million budget available last week for a required 30-day public comment period before the school board holds a hearing on it.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at the district’s central office, 1011 N. Green St.

The tentative budget represents a $1 million increase from last year, most of that in the district’s operations and maintenance fund.

Some of the summer projects the district recently wrapped up fall into those expenses, said Mark Bertolozzi, the district’s chief financial officer.

The district completed partial roof replacements at Parkland School and Edgebrook School, installed a new boiler at Hilltop School, made parking lot repairs at various schools and installed standalone heating and air conditioning units, he said.

The vast majority of the district’s spending comes out of its education fund, which remained virtually level compared to last year’s projected spending.

The surplus in that fund, though, is expected to climb, adding a projected $1.4 million to the $30.9 million the district has in the bank.

That surplus estimate is based on the assumption that the state repeats itself this year and pays the district everything it promised, Bertolozzi said.

The district should still come out in the black even if the last categorical payment – the one it hasn’t always received in the past – doesn’t come through.

“When you can count on your money, you can budget your money more accurately,” he said. “We have a lot of funding that has been up in the air.”

Unlike some other school districts, District 15 will not have to make any cuts to deal with the challenges that can arise when a taxing entity hits its maximum statutory rate limit, Bertolozzi said.

District 15 hit the max in four areas of its levy this year, meaning some of the increase it approved on its levy will fall in more restricted funds like special education.

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