Western Springs schools eye ‘balanced’ budget
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:14AM
WESTERN SPRINGS — District 101 announced a “nearly balanced” budget for the 2012-13 school year Monday.
“Right now, we’ve got about a $33,000 deficit, but when you consider that our total budget is over $16 million, that is darn close to a balanced budget,” said Superintendent Brian Barnhart.
Western Springs Elementary District 101’s revenue for 2012-13 is estimated at $16.6 million, a 1.4 percent increase from the previous year’s revenue of about $16.4 million. Expenditures for the coming year are estimated at $16.6 million, a 3.5 percent increase compared to $15.8 million from last year. However, when the cost of capital projects are not factored in, expenditures for 2012-13 drops to $16.2 million, only a 2.8 percent increase from the previous year.
“With regards to expenditures, we had a very positive fiscal 2012. Revenues were up about $150,00 over budget, and we came in 3 percent under budget for the expenditures. So, if we had spent last year’s budget as it was proposed, this year’s budget would only be a 1.7 percent increase over last year,” said Barnhart.
Barnhart, who presented the tentative budget Monday, said that the district was able to save money in several places this year, including transportation and health-care costs.
“If there are no major structural changes made with regards to how financing happens for local school districts, we have multiple years left before we would have to consider a referendum,” said Barnhart.
“Back in 2003 when we passed the last referendum, we guaranteed people six years and said if all went well, we could make it ten years. And it looks like we’re going to make it beyond that.”
However, Barnhart did warn board members and residents that pension reform will likely happen soon, and would mean state and local government contributing less money to pension funds. Barnhart estimates this could add another $1 million annually to the district budget. Additionally, under the new health-care law, the district may pay up to $300,000 more each year to purchase health care for part-time employees that were not previously covered under the school’s program.
“I think we run a very efficient ship in terms of providing our kids a good education without all the crazy frills, but here’s an additional $1.3 million to add to the budget when there’s already not much to cut from the current budget,” said Barnhart “If those increases happen, then we’re talking about an entirely different ballgame long-term, and those are the things we really have to watch out for.”
The board will present the final budget to the community at its next meeting on Sept. 17.