GENEVA – The Geneva School District 304 Board this week unanimously approved its 2014-15 budget of $100.3 million in expenditures and $95.5 million in revenue. It includes a shortfall of nearly $5 million.
After a public hearing, the board voted 7-0 to approve the new spending plan.
Expenditures include the expansion of programming, which includes the addition of all-day kindergarten at all six elementary schools and the introduction of a 1-to-1 technology program for all fifth-graders.
Programming expansion also will include Project Lead the Way – a curriculum that combines science, technology, engineering and math at the middle schools and high school, officials said.
The district is purposefully spending down fund balances in the operations and maintenance fund for capital projects and technology infrastructure and the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, to more accurately reflect each year’s actual needs, officials said.
The deficit reflected in the debt service fund is there because the officials purposefully levied about $3 million less than needed as outlined in its debt reduction plan and is using abatement dollars from the education fund to make bond payments, officials said.
Donna Oberg, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, said it is difficult to add programming and still have a balanced education budget, which was accomplished this year.
“I am excited about the addition of all-day kindergarten and programs such as Project Lead the Way and computer tablets for all [fifth-]grade students,” Oberg wrote in an email.
With Senate Bill 16 still pending, however, Oberg wrote it might be more difficult to accomplish this in the future.
Senate Bill 16 would reduce general state aid for some districts and increase it for others based on several factors including the poverty level, Oberg wrote.
“For Geneva, if passed, this would mean a reduction of 79.9 percent or approximately $1.9 million. It is an equalization for all districts to make it more fair,” she wrote.
Oberg also wrote the district’s debt service budget is unbalanced because of the abatement process.
“We have less revenue from property taxes to make the bond payments but will use abatement funds set aside for this purpose,” Oberg wrote.
The budget is posted on Geneva School District’s website, www.geneva304.org.