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Minooka High board hears new 5-year projections

All scenarios point to deficit

Published: Friday, Dec. 14, 2012 1:00 p.m. CST

MINOOKA — The Minooka Community High School board of education Thursday night got a look at what’s to come in the next five years for the district.

Senior Financial Advisor Doreen Linderman, of PMA Financial Network, provided the board with a snapshot of district finances through three updated scenarios. PMA uses the same basic scenarios each year, plugging in the most current information from the district, said Linderman.

The information includes the audited financial report, adopted budget, EAV of the school district, levy, student enrollment and staffing.

“We are always looking at some of the worst-case-scenario-type of pieces,” said Linderman.

In the worst of the three scenarios, the district maintains its current staffing ratio of 158 full-time certified employees and factors in a step increase in salary. With the projected EAV continuing to decline through 2014, the school district can expect a deficit of about $2.1 million that year.

By 2018, the deficit could grow to $4 million, Linderman said.

“(The deficit) grows if we make no changes,” she said.

All three scenarios take into account an EAV that begins to slowly rise starting in fiscal year 2015, as property values catch up. The district relies on property taxes for 74.7 percent of its revenue.

General state aid is projected to remain at about the same dollar level for the next five years, which comprises 3.6 percent of the budget.

While the school district is entitled to more in general state aid due to the decline in EAV over the last several years, the state is paying at a lesser rate.

“Eighty-seven percent is expected for future years,” Linderman said. “We hope it will continue.”

In the best of the worst-case scenarios, the district increases certified full-time staff to 160.9 to accommodate a slight increase in student enrollment; no salary increase is factored in.

With EAV and state aid being the same, the five-year deficit projection looks more like $1.9 million, according to Linderman.

“(You can see) how much is additional staff and salary increases,” Linderman said.

The district spends 52.8 percent of its budget on salaries and 15.7 percent on benefits.

While none of the numbers are written in stone, they are useful in examining the financial picture, said District Business Manager Todd Drafall. The information will be used for planning of future budgets and will also be a valuable aid when the teachers enter into contract negotiations in the spring.

“It shows what the finances look like with these (certain) assumptions,” Drafall said.

PMA will continue to work on the projections throughout the year as new information, such as EAV changes, funding and pension reform is discovered.

“As it becomes available, we will put it into the model,” Linderman said.

Bus Lease

Business Manager Todd Drafall was informed just a few days ago that one of Moris Community High School Dist. 111’s handicapped-equipped buses has hit the 150,000 mile mark and is in need of a new engine.

For the safety of the students, the board of education approved leasing a comparable bus for three years, at a cost of $7,051 a year.

A new bus would cost the district $48,888; an engine replacement at least $11,000, Drafall said.

It doesn’t make sense to replace the engine of an 11-year-old bus, Drafall said.

“At this time, (purchasing a bus) wouldn’t be real prudent use of our resources,” said Drafall. “It makes more sense this way.”

Filing Date

District 111 residents who want to throw their hat in the ring for one of four board of education seats that will open up in the spring will have a few extra days to get in a petition, said Superintendent Jim Colyott.

The deadline has been officially changed to Dec. 26 at 5 p.m., instead of Christmas Eve.

Those who have already picked-up nomination packages have been notified to avoid any confusion, Colyott said.

Board Vacancy

The board of education plans to announce a replacement at the Jan. 17, 2013, meeting to fill an open seat on the board left by member Debra Warning, who was elected to the Grundy County Board and vacated her school district seat.

Warning’s seat became vacant as of Dec. 4; the board has 45 days to fill it.

The candidates were to be discussed in closed session Thursday night, following the regular board of education meeting, Colyott said.

The seat will be filled with an appointee, but is up for election in April.

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