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Board approves D-427 budget

SYCAMORE – School board members of Sycamore School District 427 unanimously approved the budget for this school year. 

Nicole Stuckert, director of financial services for the school district, said the revenue for the final budget has increased because of housing starts in the community. The final budget was also positively affected by the contract negotiations between the school district and the Sycamore Education Association this summer. 

A tentative version of the budget was held for public inspection 30 days before the meeting, and a public hearing for the final budget was held Tuesday before board members approved it. 

Revenues for the operational budget next school year will be about $45 million, with expenses reaching about $49 million. The estimated fund balance, or savings, is expected to be at $15.7 million. 

Some school board members and district officials were not too concerned about the deficit level for the school district. For fiscal 2014, which began July 1 and ends June 30 next year, the projected operational deficit is at $4.3 million. 

Board Vice President Steve Nelson said he was pleased with the positive direction the district is heading with its deficit. He was also pleased with the revenues.

“Our revenues have increased,” he said. “Hopefully, things will continue in that direction, too.” 

Stuckert said there’s always a concern with deficit spending for the school district.

“We do have the reserves,” she said. “We know we don’t have to submit a deficit plan to the state of Illinois. We’re not at that point yet.”

The Illinois State Board of Education requires school districts to develop a deficit reduction plan if the fund balance reserves are less than three times the deficit, which Sycamore is not required to do. 

Stuckert said the district plans on controlling deficit spending with program analysis, which involves looking at the budgets for each building. The district also plans on working with PMA Financial Services to develop five-year financial projections.

The school board will expect a presentation in October. 

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