The planning of New Trier High School’s preliminary 2011-12 budget has stalled because of unknown variables.
With a new teachers’ contract still to be settled, those salaries and benefits — the biggest part of any school’s district’s budget — remains unknown. More uncertainty some when factoring in final staffing hires, state and federal revenue allocations, and any additional cost cutting that could be implemented in the coming fiscal year, Donald Goers, associate superintendent for New Trier High School District 203.
“Because these large variables are still in question, I’ve recommended that both the tentative and final budgets be delayed one month in the previously approved calendar. This moved the approval of the tentative budget from June to July, and the final budget from July to August,” Goers told New Trier board members June 6.
“I anticipate that with the possible exception of teachers’ negotiations, all other major variables will be clarified by that time. However, in the event there is still considerable uncertainty with respect to teachers’ salaries and benefits, the adoption of the final budget can be delayed until September,” he added.
Goers also noted that there has been almost no change in the number of certified staff positions presented in April, although there is a projected 1.34 percent increase (56 students) in enrollment for the coming year.
And as far as revenues, the only adjustment that has been made so far is a decrease in the anticipated state revenues, though the final state budget allocations haven’t been determined, he added.
“It does appear that both general state aid and the categorical grants will be reduced compared to last year’s allocations, though I have reinstated an $800,000 budget for general state aid that was zeroed out (the last school year),” Goers said.
Compared to last January’s projections, anticipated revenues for this upcoming fiscal year could increase $630,000, reflecting the reinstatement of general state aid and partially offset by reductions in the state categorical grants, he added.
The upcoming expenditures have decreased almost $161,000 based on the decrease in employee benefits which were partially offset by the increase in non-certified
staffing for special education, Goers said.
This created an overall projected surplus in the operating funds of just under $200,000 compared to a nearly $600,000 deficit in January.
“However, while the upcoming fiscal balance is basically balanced for this upcoming fiscal year, a deficit of $2.25 million is projected for the year after despite the reinstatement of general state aid,” Goers said.
“This structural deficit will continue to grow unless modifications are made to reduce recurring expenditures, particularly given the limited options available to increase revenues,” he added.
The upcoming fiscal year’s tentative budget will be displayed in July and a public hearing will be held at the August board meeting.
“We will continue to evaluate the revenue projections based on actual revenues and new information, and will make any necessary adjustments prior to recommending the tentative and final budgets,” Goers said.