School District 202 will “run a deficit for FY 2009, like almost every other district in the state,” according to a report by William Stafford, chief financial officer.

Mr. Stafford told the School Board on June 8 that state categorical grants are more than 70 days behind in payments for special education, bilingual education and transportation.

This amounts to approximately $1 million in the Education Fund for special education, bilingual education and vocational education and $250,000 in transportation funding.

“At this time last year, we had all this in. We may not have it until October or November,” Mr. Stafford warned. He also said that “they may not give us the whole dollar amount. They want to make good on special education, but we might not get up to 60% of the reimbursement on transportation.”

Mr. Stafford did announce that the Federal Stimulus package would add $168,854 in Title I funds and $647,545 in IDEA special education funds.

“We can spend this over the next two fiscal years,” he said, “but it will not substantially help long term budget issues.”

The District’s economic woes are compounded by the fact that revenues will be further reduced because of the low interest rate on investments (1%), and the corporate property replacement tax which is 20% down from projections. A low CPI for 2008 (0.1%) will limit the amount by which the District may increase property taxes in its 2009 tax levy.

Board member Gretchen Livingston asked if the District had been in touch with state legislators either individually or through Ed Red, the organization which lobbies on behalf of north suburban school districts.

Mr. Stafford acknowledged that “our legislators are on board” but that was not sufficient to address the funding delay issue. He also said that “Ed Red is being active” and that the special education funding is “non-negotiable” because of Ed Red.

The District 202 Board will review a tentative budget for the 2009 -10 school year on June 22.