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Kaneland Board of Education discusses projected operating deficit

SUGAR GROVE – As of last September, the state of Illinois still owed Kaneland School District 302 approximately $1.2 million from the 2017 fiscal year.

With a projected operating deficit of $1.7 million for the 2018 fiscal year, there have been multiple discussions among the district and the Kaneland Board of Education regarding fund balance planning.

The most recent conversations took place at the Kaneland Board of Education meeting Sept. 25.

“Typically there is not a lot of difference between the cash and accrual, but this year is an exception,” District 302 Associate Superintendent Julie-Ann Fuchs said. “If you recall, it’s an exception because after June 30 we received one large payment of those categoricals in early August of $1.2 million, which is not reflecting in these numbers, but it’ll be there when the audit comes.”

School Board President Teresa Witt said she felt uneasy about not growing or shrinking the fund balance.

“It seems disingenuous that I sign into this and politically wrong to say I sign into this because we don’t necessarily grow or shrink it,” she said. “We’re here to educate the students, to take care of the employees. Those are our responsibilities as a group to do that.”

The current operating fund balance for the 2017 fiscal year was about $7.8 million, which figures out to be close to 49 days on hand. The current policy is to maintain a minimum of 45 days of cash on hand throughout the fiscal year to cover operating expenditures. That results in a little more than $162,000 per day.

The biggest concern among the board is trying to determine what lies ahead with the instability of the current fund balance.

Board member Ryan Kerry questioned, “let’s say we got rid of sports in general across the board? How much money would that be? And I’m not suggesting we do that.”

Fuchs responded that $1.1 million is being spent on the assorted clubs and sports programs alone, including more than $860,000 at the high school.

Kerry wasn’t saying that he’s looking for cutting programming in athletics, but simply that he and the rest of the board needed more information about financial projections and possibilities if cuts were made anywhere.

“We’re laying out multiple scenarios right now both long term and short term,” District 302 Superintendent Todd Leden said. “We’re looking at as much as what could happen as we can but at some point we need to know.”

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