The tentative District 86 budget for fiscal year 2013 currently on public display is a “slightly” surplus budget, Superintendent Dr. Nick Wahl said, as it estimates the district will take in nearly $600,000 more in its operating funds than it will spend during the upcoming school year.
Wahl pointed out several times during the Board of Education meeting on July 16 that the budget that board members approved unanimously for posting was indeed tentative, and will likely look different when the board sees the final version in September, after an independent audit of the district’s fiscal year 2012 finances is complete.
“Between now and the final adopted budget in September … things will change,” Wahl said.
The tentative budget estimates that the district will collect about $82.4 million in operating-fund revenue during fiscal year 2013 and spend about $81.8 million. Operating funds include the education fund, the operations and maintenance fund, the transportation fund, the IMRF fund, the working cash fund, and the TORT fund.
When the debt service fund and the capital projects fund are included, the tentative budget estimates expenditures to exceed revenue by $17 million ($102 million to $85 million). Most of that difference comes from a capital projects fund that is expected to drop from $17.3 million to $64,864 with the completion of current improvements at and .
The focus of conversation at the July 16 meeting was the education fund, which according to the tentative budget, will take in $67.1 million worth of revenue and pay out $67.5 million in expenditures.
Board member Dianne Barrett said she doesn’t like to see the district’s largest fund have a larger amount of expenditures than revenue.
“Moving forward, the board needs to realize that we are in the red in the [education] fund,” she said, noting that a continuous pattern of such budgets could cause problems in future years.
Though business manager Jeff Eagan said surplus dollars from the transportation fund in fiscal year 2012 made up for a similar education fund revenue-expenditure ratio, Wahl disputed Barrett’s assertion that the district is taking money from other funds to cover for the education fund.
The superintendent said it’s important to focus on the overall operating fund balance. With the 2013 tentative budget, that operating balance will stay above 21 percent of district expenditures.
“We continue to keep the fund balance above the 21 percent fund balance that this board directs us to do,” Wahl said.
The District 86 tentative budget is balanced, Wahl said, but it's the districts actions and its actual spending during the year that will determine its fiscal condition next July.
"The budget's very important; it’s a plan. But like any other plan it’s only as successful as its operation."
The tentative budget is on display at the District 86 administrative center and here on the district’s website. A public hearing on the final budget and a vote on its adoption will take place in September.