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Glen Ellyn District 41 proposed budget includes $2 million deficit

GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn School District 41's tentative budget for 2015-16, which puts the district in a deficit for the fiscal year, is available for public view before a scheduled board vote in the coming weeks.

The budget sees the district about $2 million in the red as a result of ongoing construction, according to Assistant Superintendent of Finance Bob Ciserella.

The district will obtain about $53 million in revenue from local, state and federal sources, but is expected to spend about $55 million, according to district documents.

"It was a planned and expected deficit," Ciserella said. "We have made a deliberate decision to put ourselves in a deficit situation that will eventually lead to the elimination of all the portables of the elementary schools."

The deficit is due to about $4.9 million in capital projects that include completion of Franklin, Forest Glen and Churchill elementary school building additions, according to Ciserella, as well as library and media center renovations at Lincoln Elementary School.

Ciserella said those projects should be complete by March 2016.

The deficit was larger for the 2014-15 school year, at about $12.9 million, due to $15 million in construction, according to Ciserella. Other than this year's proposed deficit and the deficit of 2014-15, he said the district has not seen a deficit since 2007.

About 92 percent of 2015-16 budget revenue will come from local sources, with 6.3 percent from state funding and 1.6 percent from federal funding, according to board documents.

Ciserella said one of his main concerns with the budget is state funding, which has consistently remained at about$3.3 millionannually as the need for more funds continues to grow.

The 2015-16 estimate for general state aid has been pro-rated at about $1.2 milion – about 92 percent of what the district received last year, but Ciserella said funding from the state could change throughout the year.

"The state has not resolved its budget difficulties, although they have passed an education funding bill, but this could all change, it could be additionally pro-rated or other things down the road," he said.

Under the tentative budget, building allocations per student would be $140 for elementary schools, $145 for Hadley Junior High School and $40 for Hadley interscholastic activities, which include non-instructional services, according to board documents. About $25 million would go to instructional services and about $14 million would go to school support services.

Ciserella said what concerns him most about the budget is how to address the remaining portables at Hadley, since there is no money in the budget to remove them or improve the aging school building.

Superintendent Paul Gordon is happy overall with the budget and its transparency.

"I'm pleased with the budget in that it addresses the board and the district's long-range plans in that we're prioritizing the areas that are important for our students, district and staff," he said.

The tentative budget will be available for public viewing at until Aug. 10, when a public hearing will be held at 7:15 p.m. at the Central Services Office, 793 N. Main St. The board is expected to vote to approve the budget after the hearing.

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