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Sycamore School District 427 passes a balanced budget

Sycamore school president Jim Dombek presented boosters Susan Mizgalski and Dave Coovert with Board Spartan Awards for the efforts to secure multipurpose video boards for Sycamore High School.
Sycamore school president Jim Dombek presented boosters Susan Mizgalski and Dave Coovert with Board Spartan Awards for the efforts to secure multipurpose video boards for Sycamore High School.

SYCAMORE – Sycamore School District 427 has a balanced budget after the board passed the third budget of a three-year deficit reduction plan Tuesday evening.

The $58.5 million budget represents about $2.5 million in spending cuts when compared with last year’s budget, including about $500,000 in transportation spending.

There is an overall surplus of about $700,000.

Nicole Stuckert, chief financial officer for the district, said there were some changes from when the tentative budget had been presented: The General Assembly had passed a new funding formula, leading to an increase in general state aid for the district, and the Title I and II funding had been included, which affected both revenues and expenditures.

The education fund, which represents about 80 percent of the total budget, will have a $1.2 million deficit. In the fiscal 2017 budget, that same fund had a $2.8 million deficit.

“Is it appropriate to use the word balanced?” board member Eric Nelson asked Stuckert after her presentation.

“We have a balanced budget,” Stuckert said. “Yes.”

Board President Jim Dombek said it was a team effort and thanked everyone in the district.

“I don’t think we could have gotten to a balanced budget without the cooperation of everyone in the district,” he said.

No one from the public spoke at the public hearing to discuss the budget. That meeting was held before the regular board meeting.

Budget approval typically takes place in August, but Stuckert said it was pushed back this year because of concerns with the state and because the district was negotiating a contract with teacher’s association.

The district and teachers reached an agreement in July, Stuckert said.

Last year, the district laid off 40 full- and part-time staff, although it later rehired some when student enrollment increased in certain areas.

The board also presented Spartan Awards to Dave Coovert and Susan Migalski for their work with the boosters in securing the multipurpose video boards that hang at the Sycamore High School gym and football field.

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