District 300 OKs $6.3 million budget deficit

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For the first time in four years, the Community Unit District 300 school board approved a budget showing a multimillion-dollar deficit.

Board members approved the district's $200 million budget Monday with a $6.3 million shortfall in the operating fund, which officials said could exceed $12 million if the state does not come through with $6.5 million in payments it still owes the district from the last school year.

District spokeswoman Allison Strupeck said the district had balanced the budget in each of the last three years.

The board voted 6-0 to approve the budget without further discussion.

"We have kind of discussed it to death," board member Monica Clark said of the budget process that has been ongoing for the past six months.

The district trimmed $9.3 million from the current year's budget, including $2.7 million in layoffs, $1.4 million from transportation and $1 million each in support staff and salary concessions. Officials estimated the education fund would fall about $5.9 million in the red
About 70 of the 180 teachers who were laid off at the end of the last school year were recalled before school started earlier this month.

School Board President Joseph Stevens reiterated that some programs will likely need to be cut in January to make up some of the budget gap.

"We need to figure out what programs are legally required and what portion of those programs are required," Stevens said during a discussion of the District Improvement Plan. "Which programs can theoretically be cut? Unfortunately it cannot be business as usual."

The board did not discuss options for making up the multimillion-dollar deficit.

No comments were made during the public hearing on the budget before its adoption. The budget is available on the district's website, d300.org.