District 205 Warns More Budget Cuts and Layoffs are Coming
What the Elmhurst Teachers Union refers to as "surplus" is a reserve fund equal to three months of operating expenses, according to a statement from District 205.
As Elmhurst Unit Distrit 205 declared negotiations with the Elmhurst Teachers Union at an impasse last week, the district also is warning that budget cuts and more staff layoffs are looming.
Elmhurst Unit District 205 on Friday released its Budget at a Glance, which provides an overview of the district's financial picture for fiscal year 2011-12. The booklet includes such data as expenditures by fund, enrollment projections, capital repair needs at each school, revenue sources including information on general state aid, and more.
The purpose of the booklet is to give the community a snapshot of the district's financial picture, Superintendent David Pruneau says in an introductory letter.
"We encourage all members of our community to take an active role in the education of our youth," he said. "This begins with a solid understanding of our schools and our district, including the financial management of this important resource."
The letter goes on to say that budget projections for 2012-13 "indicate a structural deficit between $600,000 and $1 million" and cuts will be necessary to balance the 2012-13 budget.
Budget at a Glance references the more than 28 full-time equivalent positions that were eliminated over the last two years, and makes a bleak prediction:
"It is projected that more layoffs will follow in 2012-13 in order to maintain a balanced budget."
The district also issued a response to last week's Teachers Union statement, claiming the budget has a $27.9 million surplus and that the district is in "great financial shape."
"District 205 must continue to cut spending since revenues are projected to remain flat while expenses continue to climb greater than the rate of inflation," the statement says. "District 205 maintains a reserve fund balance equal to 25% of its total operating budget, equivalent to one quarter (or 3 months) of revenue, in order to avoid borrowing (via Tax Anticipation Warrants) to pay its operating bills. Information on this very topic is available on page 18 of the new Budget at a Glance."
Since the district receives property tax income in June and September, the fund balance at those times will always be high. But it is depleted as it is spent down. In May 2011, for example, before the receipt of the June property tax payment, the fund balance was less than $4 million, according to the Budget at a Glance.
Budget projections will be discussed at the next School Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at the administration building, 162 S. York Road. Members of the public will have an opportunity to speak for up to three minutes at the beginning of the meeting.