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Local

D-101 aiming to make budget more informative

Board to vote Sept. 22 on $87.6M budget

BATAVIA – Batavia School District 101 officials hope the district’s proposed 2015-16 budget is more informative to residents and board members than past budgets.

“We’re making it a little easier to read, but also – at the same time – providing more detail,” said Tony Inglese, the district’s new chief financial officer.

Kris Monn, who was the district’s assistant superintendent for finance and operations, left the district to become the new school superintendent for Minooka Community Consolidated School District 201.

During a public hearing on the $87.6 million budget last week, resident Sylvia Keppel called the budget incomplete and “wholly inadequate.” Inglese said the district always has welcomed public comment on the school district’s budget, whether it is at a public meeting or elsewhere.

“We always appreciate the community reaching out and letting us know, or asking questions about the budget,” Inglese said.

The budget shows revenues of about $87.9 million and expenses of about $87.6 million, for a surplus of $306,116. Residents will have another chance to publicly comment on the budget at the Batavia School Board meeting Sept. 22. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Rosalie Jones Administration Center, 335 W. Wilson St., Batavia. Board members are set to vote on the budget that night.

Inglese pointed to the section on salaries in the budget as one example of how the district is trying to provide more detail. The budget can be viewed at the school district’s website, www.bps101.net.

“Rather than just saying what we’re going to spend in a given year on salaries, we actually break out into the various different types of salaries, whether they are permanent positions or temporary positions or supplemental pay,” Inglese said. “We’re taking a lot of raw data and trying to turn it into information that actually means something to people, that they can use to make decisions, for the board and the community alike.”

The budget shows $31.9 million in salaries for teachers this year, down from last year’s $32.5 million. In the budget, overall salaries total $44.5 million, down from $45.2 million last year. According to the budget, overall salaries comprise 51 percent of the budget.

The budget also breaks out how much money is spent in the classroom and on various programs.

“You see all the various details that go into operating a school district,” Inglese said.

Overall, the district’s expenses are projected to increase by 2.7 percent this year, Inglese said. At the same time, revenues are anticipated to increase by only 1 percent.

“Our expenditures go up every year because of other various pressures, and yet our revenues don’t, just by virtue of the way school funding works in the state of Illinois,” Inglese said. “We’re very heavily reliant on local property taxes, and here in Batavia, we rely on local property taxes to the tune of 83 percent, which is really, really high. And that means that the state of Illinois provides less support to us directly than the taxpayers do. That creates a pretty heavy local tax burden.”

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