The District 233 school board agreed Tuesday, May 17, to transfer more than $12.4 million within its budget to take advantage of a state rule that will expire July 1.
The Illinois School Code gives school districts three years to transfer money from the transportation fund. That window closes in seven weeks, said Ken Parchem, the district’s business manager. There is no guarantee the deadline will be extended.
Parchem advised the board to make the money transfer rather than leaving the revenues in the transportation fund.
The district has had balanced budgets the past 13 years, he said. The district has built up the $12.4 million in reserves over the past five years.
The board agreed to move $9.3 million into the education fund and $3.1 million into the operations and maintenance fund giving the district an extra cushion. Parchem said these are internal transfers that don’t impact the amount of taxes paid by homeowners.
In 1995, the Illinois legislature set property tax caps on Cook County taxing districts that limit what schools levy. In addition, each fund within a school’s budget is capped, except for transportation.
Property values have declined since 2011 in the Homewood-Flossmoor High School area. When values drop, the school collects taxes to the maximum allowed in nine of its 10 budget funds, including the education fund used primarily for salaries, liability insurance, working cash, special education and building funds, Parchem explained.
In other business, the board heard from students on their national achievements in journalism, debate, art, music, theater, track and Steppers. The students gave special thanks to the Homewood-Flossmoor Foundation, a volunteer organization that raised funds to help underwrite part of the costs incurred when going to competitions and performances.
The board also approved a contract renewal with RJB Properties for custodial services totally $1,106,040; a three-year agreement with Athletico Ltd. for athletic training; and Chartwells, food service. Parchem said the district extends contracts at the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The board approved spending $487,219 on technology updates this summer, including the purchase of 600 Chrome books and updates to the technology wiring system.
Other summer projects include updating the rigging system in the Mall Auditorium and doing repair work on the swimming pool.