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Mary Brown, chief financial office of School District 65, told School Board members at their March 2 meeting that the State may not come through with $4.5 million in anticipated State funds in the 2010-11 school year.
Dr. Brown said she had attended a meeting with PMA, the District’s financial advisers, had met with members of the Southwest Suburban Business Manager’s Association who had met with the State Superintendent of Schools, and received an update from the Association of School Boards last week.
Based on this updated information, she said, “We need to change our budget assumptions to assume that we may not receive any general State aid payments next year, for the 2010-11 school year. That amount is $3.7 million. And we were also advised to reduce our categorical payments down to expect only three next year. We had four in our initial projection. And that is another $1 million, on top of what we had anticipated as a deficit of $0.8 million for the 2010-11 school year.
“So if indeed those reductions are made, and we may know more after the governor’s budget address on March 10, that would mean we would be looking at a projected deficit next year of $5.5 million.”
On Jan. 19, the Board adopted a resolution that opposed a budget scenario being considered by the Illinois State Board of Education which would have proposed a reduction of $922 million in State funding and that would have eliminated general State aid funding to District. 65. ISBE decided on Jan. 14 it would not recommend the $922 cut in education funding, but Dr. Brown said, “As of Feb. 22, general State aid is back on the table for possible reduction.”
Board member Andy Pigozzi said, “This obviously is very sobering news. The State deficit is $9 billion, most of which is going to come on the backs of public schools.
“As a citizen, I find it unconscionable that our lawmakers would shortchange public education because I think that is by far the most important investment we make as a public society.”
Mr. Pigozzi and Kim Weaver urged the public to contact legislators to stress the importance of funding the schools.
Finance Committee Chair, Katie Bailey, said the Finance Committee would meet next week to consider these new developments. The Committee has been reviewing information during the last six months in preparation to make decisions to address projected deficits.
On Feb. 8, the District’s staff projected the District would have deficits totaling $31.2 million over the next five years, $0.8 million in 2010-11, $3.4 million in 2011-12, $6.9 million in 2012-13, $9.1 million in 2013-14, and $10.9 million in 2014-15.