The Courier-News

More cutting ahead for D300 budget

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CARPENTERSVILLE -- Community Unit School District 300 is looking at a budget with a $6.3 million deficit for the 2010-11 school year.

Plus, the district likely will end the 2009-10 school year with a $2.8 million deficit when last year's numbers are finalized in November, said Cheryl Crates, the district's chief financial officer, at Monday night's board of education meeting.

• Coming Wednesday in The Courier-News: Transportation changes were the talk of the public comments at Monday night's Community Unit School District 300 meeting.

That means the school board will need to consider cutting $6.3 million in the new school year, Crates said.

Already, the school district has cut $9.3 million from its budget over the past school year, mostly through $2.7 million in teacher layoffs. It also cut $1 million both in administration and support staff and in supplies and services, and $1.4 million in transportation.

The $194 million budget does not include any additional cuts but has a slightly larger deficit than the projections the financial officer had shared with the board in late July.

"It's been kind of hard to be definite about the budget this year," Crates said.

Before classes started last week, District 300 recalled 69 of the total 180 teachers it had cut -- 10 more than it had projected. It also has hired 24 more teacher aides to comply with state guidelines, she said.

And the state of Illinois still owes the district more than $6.5 million in categorical funding for the 2009-10 school year after sending the district another payment earlier this month. The state owes the district one last payment for mandated programs, such as transportation and special education, and it has said it will pay out that money by Dec. 31. The proposed budget figures the district will receive that money.

Crates said that worries her whether the state will be able to pay the school district the money it has promised for the 2010-11 school year.

July's projections put District 300 up to $11 million in the red by the end of the new school year if the state does the same thing it did in the past school year: pay out half the categoricals it promised without any changes to Illinois' foundation formula funding.

The state budget passed in July promised no change to the foundation formula, which is supposed to make $6,119 available to educate each student, and 75 percent of the funding for categoricals that school districts have received in past years. The Carpentersville-based school district also is figuring into its proposed budget a $450 cut per student to the foundation formula -- a cut Gov. Pat Quinn previously has proposed.

District 300 will host a public hearing and the school board will vote on the budget at its meeting Monday, Sept. 27.