Highlights from the meeting include:
Assistant Superintendent for Business/Chief School Business Official David Bein reviewed the 2017-18 budget and presented the preliminary 2018-19 budget. The 2017-18 budget has $66.3 million in revenues and $66.5 million in expenditures, excluding the Medical Reserve Fund. Bein reported that the District’s expenditures are on target and revenues are slightly behind.
Bein was pleased to share a balanced preliminary budget for the 2018-19 school year. The preliminary budget includes $68.0 million in both expenditures and revenues. Bein said that the Business Office and central administrative team worked hard to balance the budget without cutting services to students. Bein expects the tentative budget to be approved in July 2018 and the final budget to be adopted in September 2018.
Bein noted that both budgets, as presented, exclude the $2.24 million in recent bonds and payments to complete capital projects, including the Lester School addition. Since District 58 received the capital project funding in 2017-18 but will spend much of it in 2018-19, when included, this item creates a surplus for 2017-18 and a deficit for 2018-19.
The preliminary 2018-19 budget makes several revenue assumptions, including a 2.1 percent Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase for the 2017 and 2018 tax levies, increased student fees, and flat federal and general state revenue, among others.
Bein also reviewed key projected expenditures expected in the preliminary 2018-19 budget, including:
- Negotiated salary increases
- Increased transportation costs
- Increased health insurance premiums
- Flat facility, O&M and SASED costs
- English-Language Arts resource adoption
- Science resource pilot, with associated training and support
- Ongoing math curricular costs, including assessment item bank and high demand cognitive resource costs
- Ongoing and new professional development costs
- Technology refresh and renew costs, emphasizing the need to better embed technology into the curriculum consistently across the District
The preliminary budget also considers staffing for the 2018-19 school year. Currently, the District anticipates small increases in special education, social work, psychology, physical education and art. There is no staffing change anticipated for classroom teachers and instructional assistants. Final staffing allocations may change due to actual enrollment and individual student needs.
Bein reviewed District 58’s facility needs with the Board. He noted that studies show that carefully-constructed and well-maintained school facilities can normally last 50-60 years. By comparison, District 58’s schools range from 49-90 years of age and continue to function due to diligent maintenance, but they are showing their age.
Bein reported that District 58 facilities will require $75 million in facility improvements from now through 2040. This cost estimate only considered facility needs and does not include other desired improvements, such as air conditioning or upgraded middle school science labs.
District 58’s annual operating budget does not generate a surplus that can be invested into facility improvements, and there are insufficient fund balances to complete future capital improvement needs. Non-referendum debt payments are limited by the statutory Debt Service Extension Base, which is currently about $1.4 million per year. The District can issue and pay off about $16 million in non-referendum debt over the next 25 years, which is insufficient to cover $75 million in needs. The District can issue additional debt by asking taxpayers to approve a referendum question.
Following the presentation, the Board discussed first steps to addressing the District’s many facility needs. The Board asked District administration to revisit options for selling the Longfellow Center property and using the sale proceeds and potential new property tax revenues to reinvest in its schools. The Board previously considered selling the Longfellow property in 2012 but ultimately decided to hold off at that time.
Superintendent Dr. Kari Cremascoli said her team will research and provide the Board with additional information. She noted that the Longfellow Center currently houses the District’s Curriculum, Technology and Buildings & Ground staff, and it is used daily to accommodate the District’s many curriculum, Board and community committee meetings. If the Longfellow property is sold, the District would first need to find another facility equivalent in space to accommodate the displaced staff and meeting space.
View the Facilities Presentation (scroll down to the orange “Facilities” slide).
Board Member Vacancy
During the regular April Board meeting, Member Beth Taylor shared that her family is moving out of state, and as such, she intends to resign from the Board of Education this summer. She thanked the Board and community for the opportunity to serve.
At the Budget Workshop, Dr. Cremascoli shared the timeline for replacing Member Taylor. Member Taylor intends to submit her conditional resignation in May. At that time, the District will communicate the anticipated Board member vacancy with the community. Board member applications will be available online (www.dg58.org) and at the Administrative Service Center. Applications will be due June 7 at 4 p.m.
The Board plans to interview applicants in June and July, and then prepare to appoint a replacement by July 27. The appointed Board member will serve until the consolidated election on April 2, 2019.
Strategic Planning Discussion
The District’s strategic planning consultant, HYA, presented the draft District 58 Strategic Plan report during the Board’s regular April business meeting. Member Elizabeth Sigale asked her fellow Board members if they feel comfortable with the priorities and goals outlined in the report, particularly considering the long-term financial implications that the priorities would require.
The Board indicated support for the plan as written, acknowledging that the goals address key issues affecting the community and will require a lot of work. The Board expects to vote on the plan during its regular May meeting.
About the Board of Education
District 58 Board of Education members are: Doug Purcell, president; Elizabeth Sigale, vice president; Greg Harris, Darren Hughes, John Miller, Jill Samonte and Beth Taylor, with Dr. Kari Cremascoli, superintendent; and Melissa Jerves, board secretary. Learn more at www.dg58.org/school-board.