RIVERSIDE– School District 208 projects to have a bigger budget in 2014 to spend on imrpovements such as developing better technology, adding staff members and repairing the building.
The Riverside Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education approved a tentative 2014 fiscal year budget with a projected $200,000 surplus.
"It is great to finally see a budget that is not based on cuts or reductions," said Board President Matt Sinde. "It reflects the hard work of Dr. Skinkis and his staff to get the district's operations and finances where they are today." He said the fiscal year 2014 budget surplus allows for increases in certified staff, interventions for students, and funds to address technology and capital issues that have been on hold for several years.
The budget includes the addition of three certified staff members, an additional $100,000 to improve technology infrastructure and capital, and $200,000 to address capital repairs such as roof sections. The Behavior Intervention Specialist and a Special Education Transition Specialist positions will be increased from part-time to full-time. There will also be no early retirement penalties for fiscal year 2014.
District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said a number of steps have been taken over the past two years to reduce expenses. The district moved from being self-insured to joining a health insurance cooperative that includes 90 other schools. The district is also monitoring personnel costs by aligning certified staffing with student course requests. The Board adopted a policy for minimum course enrollment to ensure that personnel costs are aligned with required classes or classes in high demand. The Board must approve classes with an enrollment of less than 20 students.
The Board also took other cost-saving measures such as revising the facility usage agreement and fee schedule to increase revenue, hiring a consultant to assist the district in re-cooping Special Education expenditures, restructuring the custodial maintenance agreement, restructuring service agreements and contracts with vendors to minimize expenditures and increase revenue, and establishing Intergovernmental Agreements with feeder school districts and villages.
"Every stakeholder has made some sacrifice over the past two years, and we appreciate everyone's hard work," Skinkis said. "We have implemented operational changes that will allow us to better monitor revenue and expenditures, and align them with our local, state and federal funding sources.
"While this budget is great news, the next task is to sustain this type of budget and operation moving forward, while meeting the educational needs of our students and the capital needs of the district," Skinkis said. "We still have a lot of work to do."