District 308 Narrows Budget Deficit to $3.8 Million
District will delay in hiring of some staff and delay purchase of new textbooks.
That amount has been narrowed to $3.8 million, Superintendent Matthew Wendt announced at Monday night's board meeting.
In fact, Wendt said the budget deficit had actually started at just over $7.5 million, but several weeks of effort in July and August had decreased it to the $5.5 million presented in the original draft.
Wendt said “bold moves” were made to decrease the budget by $1.7 million.
“We’re really doing a great job of cutting where we need to, but not affecting the classroom, which is key,” he said.
The cuts include:
- Delaying the hiring of additional custodial staff at Murphy Junior High
- Delaying hiring of some staff
- Eliminating consulting fees
- Delaying the purchase of some textbooks, specifically junior high math textbooks
- Scale back on some technology purchases
“Not to say we don’t need new textbooks,” said Wendt, “but we need also understand that elementary curriculum ties should be aligned with higher levels.”
As for the technology, Wendt said some purchases have been made with federal dollars because of the Title One school status for some locations.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” said Wendt. “I don’t want any surprises. But when we start getting to that $3 million or under range [in budget cuts] we’re going to start to notice it in our schools.”
District 308 will be pursuing E-Rate reimbursements, for which they believe there is about $400k worth of reimbursements dating back to FY 2011.
Wendt said that based on the cuts made, and to reduce the affect on the school, he feels the district will need to use cash reserves.
Board member Dave Behrens said he didn’t have a problem with using the cash reserves, so long as there is a plan.
“Technology is going to get worse, textbooks are going to get worse,” he said. “This would be a one year flip.”
Wendt also said there are parts of the budget that have yet to be examined, and that the budget always looks different later in the year.
“There’s going to be revenue that can offset on paper what we would use from the reserve.”
Board member Alison Swanson asked how the budget deficit will impact taxpayers.
“Right now there wouldn’t be one because we’d be pulling from the reserves,” said board president Bill Walsh.
The final budget will be presented and voted on at the Sept. 24 board meeting at Oswego East High School.