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District 304 eyes new education fund spending plan

GENEVA – Geneva District 304’s preliminary education fund budget shows $56.3 million in expenditures for fiscal 2014, revenues of $58.2 million and a surplus of nearly $2 million, officials said.

The increase is about $870,000 over fiscal 2013 or about 2 percent, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Donna Oberg said at a school board meeting this week.

Revenue will come from the property tax levy, $49.3 million, an increase of .52 percent or about $256,000 over last year’s $49 million. The biggest decrease will come from general state aid, $1.9 million, a reduction of 21.63 percent or $403,000 less than last year’s $2.3 million, Oberg said.

“The finance committee suggested changes that are incorporated into this budget,” Oberg said, reducing the proposed $1.6 million increase to $870,000. “It is very close to the 2 percent the committee recommended.”

Oberg said though the board could have increased the levy 3 percent last year, the increase was reduced by half to 1.5 percent, resulting in a $1 million decrease in taxes that could have been collected.

The proposed education fund spending plan takes into account several retirements of staff at a savings of $1.4 million, with their replacement cost estimated at $750,000.

Those positions include a payroll specialist, early childhood coordinator, prevention coordinator, coordinator for business services and a math facilitator.

“We had prevention coordinator [Charles] Chic Williams, which was a contracted service,” Oberg said. “Part of his professional fee came from a grant from the Kane County Riverboat Fund because he serviced not only our students for prevention, but any student from Kane County.”

Williams died, and his widow is continuing to serve students through the summer, and then she is expected to retire, Oberg said. The district plans to hire a social worker for a budgeted salary of $40,000 for nine months to be the new prevention coordinator. 

Williams also was doing safety and security, and the district has hired Amy Campbell as the safety coordinator. Campbell’s cost had been covered by a two-year Readiness Emergency Management for Schools grant, but now will be paid out of district funds.

Oberg said the district hired a payroll person to replace one who is retiring.

The district will hire a coordinator for business services, who will replace a retired accounting manager, but Oberg said the coordinator will have a master’s degree and will have more responsibility, including projects and presentations to the school board.

“We are also reclassifying someone we had doing math projects for elementary schools who will be called a math facilitator,” Oberg said. “It’s just basically shifting the title. Last year, he was paid out of a grant, this year out of district funds.”

Overall, salary costs would increase by just under 2 percent or $738,000 in the proposed budget.

Services for occupational and physical therapy were provided by the Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative, but for fiscal 2014, the district will outsource them.

This will cause a shift in the budget, Oberg said, with a decrease in tuition cost and an increase in purchased services by $360,000.

Also included in the preliminary budget is $924,000 for the replacement of equipment and infrastructure for technology throughout the district.

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