www.cusd200.org November 10, 2017
Board Meeting Highlights
November 8, 2017 at Sandburg Elementary
Board Accepts 2016-17 Financial Audit
Annually, the District's auditors prepare an independent audit of the District’s financial statements that includes an expressed opinion of the District’s financial position. The audit ensures the integrity of key financial indicators of which the Board is responsible.
Highlights of the audit include:
- Operating revenues exceeded expenditures by $2.3 million
- Operating Fund balance is at $49.5 million (30.4%)
- At $12,898 per student, District 200's operating expense per student is BELOW the state average of $12,973 (as reported in 2017 School Report Card but 2016 Audit).
- The District’s Standard & Poor’s Bond Rating remains at AA Stable.
- The District’s State Board of Education Designation is Financial Recognition, the highest possible.
The Board’s Fund Balance Policy 4.22 requires the Board to target a fund balance of not less than 25% and not more than 40%, representing approximately ninety (90) to one hundred forty days (140) of operation. A fund balance can be compared to a savings account. The policy states that the Board can utilize funds in excess of 25% for capital facility projects. Based on the audit, the Board could utilize up to $9 million in fund balance for high priority facility projects like a new early learning center and other capital improvement needs.
Board Adopts 2017 Levy
Annually the Board reviews a levy proposal, prepared by staff, that requests a percentage increase over the prior year aggregate extension. A levy is the formal request by a school district for a certain amount of revenue to be generated by the property tax. The Board of Education is limited to an increase no greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) (maximum of 5%) from the previous year under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL or "tax cap") plus any anticipated new construction growth.
The 2017 Tax Levy Proposal request the Board adopted was an increase of 4.84% over the prior year. It is anticipated the actual levy will be less as the 2016 CPI was 2.1%. With the new construction values being unknown at this time, including the Amazon development, a levy request greater than the CPI was needed to capture the new growth. The recently adopted 2017-18 budget anticipated accessing the CPI and anticipated new growth.
Board Approves Timeline for Early Learning Center
At their meeting, the Board approved a project timeline of a new early learning center on the existing Jefferson site. The timeline assumes the Board will award construction contracts and break ground on the new building in August 2018 and also assumes the building will be open for students for the 2019-20 School Year.
At their October Meeting, the Board determined to focus their efforts on constructing a new building on the existing Jefferson site only. After considering cost, green space disruption, traffic impact, overall square footage and site specific factors for the Graf Park location, ultimately the Board determined construction of a new facility on the existing Jefferson site was the preferred option.
New Early Learning Center on Existing Jefferson Site - Concept & Financing
The new early learning center concept is similar to the concept in the April 2017 Referendum Plan but has a slightly smaller footprint. The new building would be constructed immediately south of the existing building and would retain some of the open green space. This option would allow potential construction to take place during the 2018 -19 School Year; demolition of the existing school during summer 2019; and opening of the new building for the 2019-20 School Year. The revised concept design will be very similar in look to the 2017 referendum design and will be shared with the community in the coming months.
For this option, the Board is considering using some fund balance (savings) and lease certificates to finance this facility project. Lease certificates provide a way for borrowing for improvements that allow for debt payments to come from the existing operational budget, not through increasing the community’s tax burden. The Board can also still consider a private fund-raising campaign to potentially offset a portion of the building cost.
Erica Loiacono | Director of Public Relations