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D-424 board unanimously approves fiscal 2014 budget

GENOA – While state revenue is decreasing for Genoa-Kingston School District 424, some school officials are hopeful the district will balance its budget in the near future. 

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Brad Shortridge, assistant superintendent for the district, presented the school budget for fiscal 2014, which began July 1. Board members unanimously voted to adopt the budget. Board President Paul Kruse was not present at the meeting.

The district projected an overall deficit of about $1.1 million for this year and school officials managed to reduce the deficit for its operating funds by almost half. The operating fund deficit is about $543,000. 

The reductions in the deficit came as a result of reducing outside services or equipment by about $600,000. More than $100,000 was saved in the past two to three years by combining administrator positions and having administrators take on more responsibilities. 

In March, more than a dozen teaching positions, support staff and the freshman sports program were cut in a bid to cut $600,000 from the district’s budget. Since then, six of the teachers in music, math, science and reading have returned. The freshmen sports program was reinstated after faculty members found ways to raise money to save it. 

District Superintendent Joe Burgess said school officials are staying positive about the future of the school’s budget. He said the goal is to eventually balance the budget and keep a healthy fund balance at about 50 percent of its operating funds expenses, which is board policy. 

“If things work out, if everything works out right … we might come close to, hopefully, that balance,” he said. 

In Shortridge’s presentation for the current fiscal year, he included $1.1 million the district receives for handling the payroll from the Kishwaukee Education Consortium. For this year, expenses are expected to be about $19.97 million and revenues are expected to be about $19.23 million. The overall deficit is projected to be about $740,000.

School officials anticipate a fund balance – or savings – of about $12.6 million by the end of the current fiscal year, which is June 30. 

The district’s revenue decreased from last year as a result of 9 percent reduction in state revenue. Shortridge said state revenue will continue to decrease if the district’s enrollment keeps shrinking. General state aid for the school district is based on enrollment and attendance. Last year, the district’s enrollment was 1,883 students and this year enrollment is an estimated 1,854.

“We hope we start getting some more enrollment,” he said. 

Board member Kerri Sosnowski said she was concerned about the decreasing revenue coming from the state but thought the district manages its finances well.

“I think our district does a very good job of managing the funds we have,” she said. 

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