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Genoa-Kingston School District 424 amends budget deficit, reinstates some teachers

GENOA — Genoa-Kingston School District 424 leaders almost halved the district’s $1.1 million projected deficit while restoring some of the teaching positions cut this spring.

School board members are expected to consider a budget with a $543,000 deficit in its operating funds at a meeting that starts at 7 p.m. today at Genoa-Kingston High School, 980 Park Avenue, Genoa. The meeting will include a public hearing on the proposed budget for the fiscal year that started July 1.

In March, 14 teaching positions, the freshman sports program and dozens of support staff were cut as part of a plan to slash $600,000 from the school budget.

Those changes wouldn’t have gone into effect until this academic year, but since then, six of the teachers in music, math, science and reading returned.

Brad Shortridge, assistant superintendent of District 424, said faculty members found ways to raise the money to save the freshman sports program.  

School board members told Burgess and Shortridge to find ways to reduce the deficit by half. Much of the cuts came by reducing outside services or equipment by $600,000.

“We have tried to keep much of that in-house as we can,” Shortridge said. 

Other savings were found by combining administrator positions or having administrators take on more responsibilities.

Shortridge estimated the school district has saved more than $100,000 this way in the past 2 to 3 years.

Overall, expenses are projected to increase from $18.6 million last year to $18.9 million this year. Meanwhile, the projected revenue dipped $300,000 from $18.4 million last year, largely because the district’s revenue from the state fell 9 percent.

“When we’re 35 percent dependent on [state revenue] and it goes down 9 percent, that hurts,” Shortridge said.

General state aid payments are tied to enrollment, which fell from 1,883 last year to an estimated 1,854 students this year. 

The budget that will be presented at today’s meeting will include the $1.2 million in funds the school receives for handling the payroll for the Kishwaukee College Education Consortium.

Shortridge said there’s always opportunities to reduce the district’s deficit. If revenues continue to decrease, district officials may have to look at ways to reduce expenditures. 

“It’s a constant project,” he said, “where you’re always trying to do the best you can with your expenditures and figure out what you’re going to do to educate your kids.”

Genoa-Kingston 424 fiscal 2014 tentative budget 

Revenue: $18.1 million

Expenses: $18.9 million 

Fund balance: $12.6 million

Deficit: $700,000

Genoa-Kingston 424 fiscal 2013 budget 

Revenue: $18.4 million

Expenses: $18.6 million

Fund balance: $13.3 million

Deficit: $150,000

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