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In order to ensure the district's reserve fund remains between 6 and 7 percent of the total budget for 2019-20, the Board of Education has deemed it necessary to make roughly $7 million in spending reductions.
The primary reason for the expected budget shortfall is state and federal aid that falls short of increased costs. Of the expected gap between spending and revenue, only $2 million can be attributed to declining enrollment. The Board heard and discussed a presentation of initial budget adjustments at a Jan. 24 work session. A presentation of initial budget adjustments from the Board will take place at a regular meeting on Feb. 7. View the complete 2019-20 budget process timeline.
Board Approves 2019-20 Budget
At its June 20 meeting, the District 191 Board of Education approved a budget including $130.1 million in general fund spending for the 2019-20 school year. With revenue expected to be $129.2 million, the district will use about $900,000 from its reserves to cover expenses.
Revised Budget Adjustment Proposal
District 191 presented a revised list of budget adjustments, which were based on community feedback, at the Feb. 28 Board of Education meeting. The adjustments are necessary to address a more-than-$7 million shortfall projected for the district’s 2019-20 budget due to lagging state aid, underfunding for special services, and declining enrollment.
Opportunities for Public Input
The Board heard input at a public hearing on Feb. 13 and received more than 300 comments through an online form, which closed Feb. 20.
Spending by Type of Expense
Spending by Purpose
The district receives a majority of its revenue from state aid. Less than 25 percent of revenue comes from local taxes, which include referenda.
|The vast majority of our spending is on people: teachers, educational support, clerical work, maintenance, administration.||Nearly 80 percent of district spending goes toward instruction and educational support, with the state average at 71%. Only 4% goes to district-level administration.|
State Aid Falls Short
State aid, which is the biggest share of our revenue, hasn’t kept up with inflation over the past 15 years. So much so that we are receiving about $600 less per student than we would be if aid had kept up with inflation. That amounts to $5 million a year.
Special Education Funding Shortfall
Both the federal government and state government have underfunded special education programming for many years. These services, which are mandated by law, are essential for supporting the individual needs of students. But in 2017-18, for instance, we’re received about $12.7 million less in funding than we spent to provide those services. Learn more about the special education cross subsidy.
The district's enrollment is projected to decline by 230 pre-k–12 students, resulting in about $1.9 million less revenue. Enrollment, however, is not the primary cause of the district's need for budget adjustments. Even if enrollment were stable, the district would be looking at more than $5 mill in adjustments due to the state funding gap.