Thursday, August 9, 2012
D300 Budget Projects $1 Million Surplus (Insert Asterisk)
The biggest unknown is teachers' salaries. "One percent of salaries is $1 million," said Harkin, "so a one percent increase would eat up every cent of (the nominal surplus)." A new contract with D300's teachers' union is now in a mandatory mediation process. Crates had penciled in no salary boost but a two percent expenditure increase due to seniority and credential upgrades.
Crates also included about $250,000 in new expenses on the assumption legislators would offload part of State teachers' pension obligations onto school districts. Harkin left that out of her version of the budget because, "That showed up in the Spring but now it isn't going anywhere." If the proposal resurfaces, however, "We'd have to amend the budget," she said.
Another area of uncertainty firmed up this week, Harkin said. According to the latest report, she said, general state aid per student for the coming year will be "prorated" to 89 percent of what it's supposed to be. That's bad news since last year it was only prorated at 95 percent but it's good news compared to fears earlier this year it might fall to 80 percent. The current projection amounts to $1.75 million less state aid to D300 than last year.
That's somewhat offset by an increase in the District's property tax base. "We did have $33 million to $35 million new construction," Harkin said.
After the Board approves the--or a--proposed budget Monday, a public hearing will be scheduled on it Sept. 24.
In the pic: Board Member Dave Alessio was the only one on hand Wednesday to run through the the latest D300 draft budget with Chief Financial Officer Susan Harkin.