The Board of Education approved the school district's FY19 budget at its September 24th meeting. A deficit of $620,000 is projected this year.
However, unlike recent years, there is better news to report about school district finances.
The good news is that School District 153 experienced a budget surplus last year of $868,000, the first budget surplus since 2011. Chief School Business Official Dr. John Gibson cited a few reasons for this.
Greater than expected property tax revenues and an additional payment of state categorical grants contributed to the surplus.
Gibson also credited administration and staff for holding the line on spending. Expenditures were less than the budgeted amount in almost every category district-wide.
Another big reason for the surplus? District 153 received all the state funding promised to it—plus an additional $187,000--under the new Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula.
Replacing general state aid, EBF distributes state education funds according to a complicated formula based on the costs of providing staffing and services associated with student success.The goal of EBF is to address educational disparities between wealthy and under-resourced school districts.
The bad news is that District 153 is considered to be only 61% adequately funded under the new state system. District 153 has been classified as a “Tier 1” school district with the most under-resourced school districts in the state.
Superintendent Dr. Dale Mitchell says he'll be watching to see if the state will be able to keep its promise to provide school districts with at least as much funding as the previous year.
Nonetheless, District 153 expects to keep the promises it made to the community during the 2016 referendum campaign. Mitchell said the school district is on target to maintain its programs and services over the next five years utilizing referendum dollars to cover anticipated deficits.