Board of Education Meeting Highlights
The following are highlights from the July 12, 2017 meeting.
Tentative 2017-18 Budget posted for public review
The Tentative 2017-18 Budget is posted for public review at the School Service Center and on our website. Important points to note for the balanced $166 million FY18 operating budget include:
The District ended last year spending $390,000 less than budgeted. The District is still owed in excess of $5.6 million in funding from the State of Illinois. The District expects to receive just over $18 million annually from the State, which is approximately 11% of the District's total operational revenues. Any excess revenue this year will be dedicated to the Board's fund balance (savings). The Board and staff continue to find difficulty in addressing high priority facility projects due to inconsistent payments from the State of Illinois.
- Total revenue from the State of Illinois, just over $18 million, is projected comparably the same as last year. With the passage of a State budget, the District is hopeful that revenues will flow from the State as expected.
- Expenditures on high priority capital projects (roofing and flooring) is approximately $3 million, which is an increase from the prior year.
- Deferred expenditures including the hiring of 2 vacant administrative positions ($174K), Drivers Education simulators ($162K) and purchase of new student information system ($270K) allowed for the increased allocation to facility projects.
- A 2% decrease in purchased services, 4.8% decrease in supplies and 2.2% decrease in out-placed tuition from the prior year's Education Fund budget have also allowed for an increased allocation to high priority facility projects.
- While there are contractual salary increases for teachers and support staff, overall salary expenditures have remained relatively flat since 2010.
In spite of challenges in State funding, the District continues to be responsible stewards of public tax dollars. At $12,636 per student, District 200's operating expense per student is BELOW the state average of $12,821; our FY16 Fund Balance (savings) was at 29.7%; our Standard & Poor’s Bond Rating is AA Stable; our State Board of Education Designation is Financial Recognition (the highest possible); and our balanced FY17 budget marked seven consecutive years of a balanced budget in spite of dwindling State revenue that has decreased by over $40 million since 2008.
A public hearing will be held on August 16 at 7:00 p.m. prior to the Board Meeting for any community members who would like to share feedback and comments on the Tentative 2017-18 Budget.
Enrollment projections updated, utilization of buildings analyzed
Every three to four years, the Board of Education updates their enrollment projections. Prepared by University of North Carolina demographer Dr. John Kasarda, the 2017 Enrollment Projections Report is an update to the District's 2013 Report. To prepare the report, Dr. Kasarda reviews population and housing dynamics and analyzes recent enrollment patterns, including comparing graduating seniors to incoming kindergartners, to make projections for future enrollment. Dr. Kasarda provides three series of projections: Series A (less students than anticipated), Series B (anticipated number of students) and Series C (greater than anticipated number of students). Historically, Dr. Kasarda's Series B projections have shown accurate for enrollment across the District.
In conjunction with enrollment projections, the Board of Education asked staff to take a deeper look at classroom utilization to provide further understanding of how we are using the space at all of our schools. The full presentation and 2017 Enrollment Projections are available on our website. After reviewing enrollment projections and building utilization, key takeaways include:
Preuhs & Associates provides update on fundraising feasibility study
- Based on Series B projections, enrollment district-wide should remain stable for the next 10 years and consistent to today's enrollment of just under 13,000
- Based on Series B projections, the classroom utilization analysis indicates that all schools are needed and appropriately utilized
- Special populations that impact space, like special education and English learners, are expected to increase
Through the Vision 2018 Plan, a goal was identified to explore alternate revenue sources, when available, to support district needs. As part of the Facility Master Plan, an option had been discussed to conduct a fundraising campaign to raise dollars for special projects in the April 4 Facility Referendum Plan like an early learning center, science labs, a performing arts space and libraries.
Conducting a feasibility study is an important step in determining levels of private gift support available in the community. The study will be used as a research tool to determine if a fundraising campaign is viable in our community. Earlier this spring, the Board hired Pruehs and Associates to conduct the study, with half of the cost being covered through private sources.
To complete the study, Preuhs and Associates is interviewing key community leaders and historically generous individuals to gather feedback. While the study is expected to be completed later this summer, an update at the Board Meeting revealed that:
Facilities Committee prioritizes projects, identifies scenarios for an early learning solution
- private fundraising is an idea that is supported by many and willing volunteer leaders and potential funding sources are being discovered;
- collaborations are being considered and potential leaders are being recommended; and
- building trust in the District should continue to be a focus of the Board and staff.
As previously reported, following discussions and review of the Post-Referendum Survey results, the Board's Facilities Committee has reviewed and re-prioritized facility projects and has decided that for right now, the Board focus their facility planning efforts around the most critical projects, capital projects and secure entries. The current focus on capital projects and secure entries is significantly scaled back from the complete April 4 Facility Referendum Plan that included multiple other projects.
The updated estimated cost of capital projects and secure entries (going out 8+ years, including escalation and loss of referendum plan efficiencies) is approximately $93 million in work. That estimate includes $5 million in capital projects at Jefferson Early Childhood Center. Given the amount of capital improvement projects at Jefferson, the Facilities Committee is also reviewing options for our early learning needs that do not include construction of a new building.
Based on those recommendations, the Board's Finance committee, along with District and School Administration, will begin developing a plan to allocate $8 million toward capital projects and secure entries for the 2018-19 School Year. It is expected that a proposed cost reduction plan for the 2018-19 School Year will be developed by early fall.