Despite an increase in state funding, Homewood School District 153 school board approved a $23.7 million budget for 2020 that carries a deficit. At its meeting Monday, Sept. 16, John Gibson, chief schools business official, outlined the district’s budget that shows $23,773,000 in revenues, but $24,514,000 in operating expenses leaving the district with a $741,000 deficit.
Despite an increase in state funding, Homewood School District 153 school board approved a $23.7 million budget for 2020 that carries a deficit.
At its meeting Monday, Sept. 16, John Gibson, chief schools business official, outlined the district’s budget that shows $23,773,000 in revenues, but $24,514,000 in operating expenses, leaving the district with a $741,000 deficit.
This year’s budget is closer to the $23,710,000 in expenditures the district had last school year.
Gibson said the district is able to cover the red ink thanks to money in reserve from the sale of $4.5 million in bonds in December. That was the third and last bond sale.
Voters gave an 80 percent approval for the 2016 referendum that allowed school administrators to sell $9 million in bonds to cover district expenses. That referendum followed a 2011 referendum for $7.5 million in working cash bonds.
“We’re still in good shape with those funds,” Gibson told board members. He still sees the injection of the bond money helping the district into 2023.
Under the state’s new evidence-based funding model, schools should be able to meet expenses through taxpayer support. District 153 is designated as Tier 1, a district having one of the lowest percentages of local support to get to 100 percent adequacy funding. Schools with better funding are getting less state aid.
The state puts District 153 at 62 percent sufficient. Consequently, the state is providing $6.7 million to Homewood schools. Last year Homewood’s funding was at 61 percent and it received $6.2 million from the state, Gibson said.
Superintendent Dale Mitchell said “expectations are the same (for District 153 students) regardless if we’re funded (at 100 percent) or not.” Homewood students take the same state mandated tests as students in Mokena and Orland school districts that have funding at or exceeding the 100 percent standard, he said.
This year the school board will be focusing on what steps to take to update its aging buildings, and how to keep technology in the classrooms current. New textbooks are also part of this budget.
Gibson said the district is seeing a 2.8 percent drop in property values. That could affect the amount of taxes the district can collect in the future, but Gibson said because the state has imposed a property tax cap, he believes the drop won’t hurt the district much.