ST. CHARLES – St. Charles School District 303 board members Monday approved a budget for fiscal 2013-14 with a little more than a $495,000 deficit, despite achieving some financial goals.
Those goals included a tax abatement of debt service that saved the district $2.5 million, and the district also is poised to see its debt service drop in the future.
School officials anticipate revenues to total $205,099,250 for that fiscal year, with expected expenditures to total $205,594,600. Officials anticipate a year-end deficit of $495,350, leaving more than $73 million in the district’s fund balance. The budget reflects a 2.13 percent increase in expenditures over the previous year.
The board also approved a budget for the Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative for fiscal 2013-14. The total $15,724,219 budget reflects an 18 percent reduction from the previous year. Enrollment, however, is expected to increase by 17 students from the previous year.
As trial testimony concluded earlier this month involving District 303, one person spoke out Monday during the public comment period and one board member addressed some issues involving the Richmond and Davis elementary schools.
A group of parents filed a lawsuit in 2011, weeks after the school board approved a now-implemented plan for Davis and Richmond elementary schools. Davis became a K-2 school, and Richmond – which had repeatedly failed to meet academic standards – became a school for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. Richmond also adopted other changes, including a longer school day.
The parents allege D-303 acted illegally and in contradiction of Illinois School Code regulations.
Karla Kurinsky of St. Charles on Monday asked Superintendent Don Schlomann how adequate yearly progress wouldn’t be affected by the merging of the two schools when that was brought up repeatedly at meetings. She said she found it “particularly disheartening” that Schlomann stated that parents simply didn’t want their children attending a “diverse school” when many parents had raised a number of legitimate concerns, including AYP.
Toward the end of the meeting, board member Ed McNally expressed concerns about students’ math scores at the schools. He said students who had no risk factors scored about 10 percentage points behind the entire district in math at Richmond, and 13 percentage points behind at Davis.
“That is a concern that we’re that far behind in those two buildings in math,” he said.