Message from the Superintendent
John M. Rodgers, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools
Due to a slow economy, revenue growth for public schools has been minimal for the past two years. This resulted in the reduction of programming and district personnel. In FY10, the Board of Education and administration made responsible decisions to balance the district’s budget. These decisions required the reduction of annual district expenditures by $5 million. In FY11, the district ended the year with a balanced budget and a slight surplus in the Education Fund.
In September 2011, the budget presented to the public and approved by the Board projected a $1.99 million deficit at the end of FY12. This projected deficit is due to several factors related to state funding issues. Those factors are:
- The State of Illinois has informed all school districts that they will be unable to make the last state aid payment of the year; this will cost our district approximately $450,000 in revenue;
- The state is only funding regular transportation costs at 59% rather than the customary 80% which we have received in the past—this is costing the district $726,000;
- State funding for our Alternative Education School in Monee has been reduced by nearly 80%, which equates to $380,000 in lost revenue.
- The state has eliminated all block grants to school districts which have resulted in a loss of $230,000 of revenue to CM201-U.
Crete-Monee Board of Education and administration have put forth their best effort to balance the budget; however, the state’s consistent decisions to reduce support for public education makes it difficult to achieve the financial stability for which we are striving. These state decisions result in a greater burden on the local tax payer.
Deficit spending is not an acceptable long-term practice within a governmental organization; it depletes fund balances and/or causes the need to borrow money by selling public bonds. Borrowing money only adds to the expense of an already unbalanced budget; these funds must be reimbursed to bond holders. The substantive and permanent solutions to resolving a deficit budget are:
- Continue to reduce expenditures;
- Find ways to increase revenue
On Saturday, January 21, 2012, the Superintendent and Business Manager held a meeting with two board members and Crete-Monee Education Association (CMEA) representatives to review the district budget. Every building/department budget within the district was examined to provide a greater understanding of revenue sources and how district funds are spent.
District leaders strongly believe that the budget should be balanced to ensure fiscal solvency; however, they understand that the financial needs of new and ongoing state compliance mandates must be met. The Board of Education believes that fiscal transparency is critical to the tax payers’ in light of the growing concern that tax payers have about property tax increases. This transparency is also important as upcoming collective bargaining negotiations will take place in the near future.
The district is committed to meeting the needs of our students while remaining fiscally responsible. The Crete-Monee Board of Education and administration will continue to maintain transparency concerning important financial issues.