The Board of Education had its first look at the district's proposed 2013 budget at its meeting Monday night.
According to the district’s Assistant Superintendant of Business, Dave Holm, everything appears to be on target. Holm sat through his final board meeting before he retires.
“If everything comes in as we anticipate it, we look pretty good for the current budget year,” he said. “We look good, if not even better.”
When it comes to the district’s $288 million budget, it will need to wait to hear what the final outcome is with the state’s budget. The Illinois legislature passed a budget at the last minute, but Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to sign off on it, Holm said. It’s unknown if Quinn will ask for additional cuts to school funding.
As it stands now, the district's budget will be balanced, barring any unforseen changes.
The district anticipates regular transportation will be fully funded, but last year Quinn reduced funding when he approved the budget, Holm said. The expectation is that Quinn won’t be making those same cuts this year.
Earlier in the year, . The district’s budget took into account the $9.3 million in austerity reductions that were made, including the reduction in staff, amounting to roughly $6.3 million.
The district’s salary costs in 2013 will be roughly $187 million and benefits account for $35 million of the budget, according to the budget document. The budget also includes $4.9 million in new initiatives including $2.7 million for technology.
The board will vote on the tentative budget at its Aug. 27 meeting. The public will have a month to review the budget and a hearing and approval of the final budget will be held on Sept. 24.
In other business Monday night, a group of parents attended the meeting to raise concerns about overcrowding at Nancy Young Elementary School. The school’s students are missing out and not having the same experience other students do in the district because of overcrowding, including having four physical education classes take place at one time, an overcrowded and messy lunch room and music classes held in a custodian’s closet.
The parents who spoke out during the public comment portion of the meeting said they should have brought their concerns to the board sooner, but that they were told the overcrowding would be addressed.
Teachers and parents are both frustrated with the situation and the parent said they hoped some kind of resolution could be found for the 2012-13 school year.
District 204 Superintendent Kathy Birkett said the district didn’t want to be “penny wise and pound foolish” by relocating students only to have to relocate them again.
The parents hoped that a meeting could be held with administrators to discuss the matter. Kathy Pease, executive director of elementary education was asked to speak with the parents to discuss next steps.