The wrapped up its months-long budgeting process at its regular meeting on Monday night—unanimously passing a $348 million final budget for the 2011-12 school year.
Using 2011 enrollment projections as a guide, the school board adopted the preliminary 2011-12 budget in June, but has since made some adjustments to the budget. The proposed final budget was reviewed by the School Board Audit and Finance Committee on Dec. 12, 2011.
The vast majority of the district’s total budget, or roughly $297 million, will flow to the district’s general fund this year. Other smaller funds, including the food service, debt service and special education funds make up the remainder of the total budget.
Roughly 83 percent of the district's general fund expenses—or roughly $247 million—is earmarked for staff salaries and benefits. Another $5.7 million will pay for capital expenditures, while purchased services comprise roughly $24 million of the total general fund budget.
General fund revenue for 2011-12, the budget shows, is a little more than $292 million, 73 percent of which comes from state aid. Despite a projected operating deficit of $4.4 million this year, the district’s finances are in better shape than expected, according to School District 196 Finance Director Jeff Solomon.
“In the preliminary budget, the district was anticipating reduction in state funding for education, and actually what occurred through the legislative session was that we received a 1 percent increase [in revenue]. So, there's a change of over slightly 4 percent for our state funding for this year," Solomon said.
There were many items that shaped the budget that was approved Monday.
In March, the board unanimously voted to cut $3.5 million from the budget, resulting in 48 job cuts. The district also decided in April to lay off 93 non-tenured teachers.
The district was able to avoid cutting another $5 million in the budget by using one-time federal education funding that became available last year. In August, the board also —a decision prompted by the limited increase in state funding and the impact of the state’s new Market Credit Exclusion program, which led to increases in tax rates throughout much of the state.