New Lenox school board members got an update on District 122's five-year financial outlook last week, readying them for important decisions that will be made for next year.
District 122 held its annual January strategic plan meeting to review finances and other major plans for the district. Administrators stressed that the district is in good shape, but there's a projected $1.1 million deficit for the fiscal year 2013 budget because of a lack of state payments.
That was the focus of last week's financial forecast. Illinois has failed to make two payments totaling $2.2 million to District 122, and as state reimbursements for transportation continue to decline, the local schools are left the weather the storm.
The financial forecast is provided to board members at least twice a year to provide context to the decisions they make. You can view the entire document, which is attached to this article as a PDF.
It shows that the next couple of years will continue to see declines in new growth, equalized assessed value and state aid, but after that the district could be in better shape.
"It's a very tumultuous times financially for every district in the state," said Howard Crouse, the vice president of PMA Financial Network, which gave the presentation. "But we would anticipate when the market picks back up, you’re one of the areas that will see the benefit earlier than most."
District 122 gets about 74 percent of its revenue through local property taxes, and only 7 percent through general state aid, which is likely to continue shrinking. For example, transportation reimbursements have dropped from about 74 percent at one time to just half now.
The district actually , which helped cover a projected budget deficit for the current fiscal year. That was welcomed news following .
This year, the district won't have to cut as much, district spokeswoman Jenny Zimmerman said, in part because the projected deficit is smaller, and administrators have said they feel comfortable dipping into reserves for various projects as long as enough is maintained in the bank to keep a high credit rating.
But there are still various financial decisions that must be made by the board, many of which will be discussed at tonight's meeting. The school board meets at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at the .
The agenda includes a discussion about transportation options. Last week, the district on parents, but all would involve a price increase.
Additionally, the board is working to determine how much money the district can spend this year on priority building projects. The district has identified about $3.4 million in projects it would like to complete this year.
One vote that will occur tonight, mostly because of timing issues related to ordering materials in time, is whether to approve $210,722 for new windows at .