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Homewood schools getting more state aid this year

The Homewood District 153 school board expects to see an additional $1.2 million in its budget this year through savings and new state dollars.

John Gibson, the district’s chief school finance officer, said this year the district expects to collect about $600,000 in additional state revenues, and will see a $600,000 savings by closing Millennium School in June 2016.

However, that still doesn’t put the district finances in the black, said John Gibson, the district’s chief school finance officer.

The district has been running annual deficits of $2.5 million.

“The way our bottom line on a projected deficit looks now, it’s half what it was last year,” he explained.

The district keeps its budget level by using money from its Working Cash Fund underwritten by additional property tax dollars approved in a 2011 referendum.  A second referendum, approved in March, will boost the Working Cash Fund in 2017.

At the end of this legislative session, a partial state budget provided schools with more general state aid dollars for the 2016-17 school year.

“The state is giving us more money than before because (the state) is not pro-rating it,” said Gibson.  Last school year Illinois pro-rated aid by giving only 92 percent of  $6,119 per student funding it pledged.

That $6,119 amount, called a foundation level, hasn’t gone up since 2011, he added.

But Gibson is quick to say District 153 is happy to have the additional money.

“We can use it and are entitled to it, so we accept it graciously,” he said.


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