Waterloo School Board OKs budget - Republic-Times | News

Waterloo School Board OKs budget

By on September 23, 2015 at 11:16 am

The Waterloo School Board started Monday night’s meeting with a public hearing to discuss the 2015-16 fiscal year budget.

For the year, the district will be operating with an unbalanced budget, meaning it is spending more money than what is coming in. In other words, they’re working in a deficit.

“Deficit spending is the norm. Most districts are deficit spending,” Waterloo superintendent Brian Charron said.

The estimated fund balance for June 30, 2016, is $7,692,129. That total is from the combined money of these operating funds: educational, operations and maintenance, transportation and working cash. Estimates are that the district will overspend by $1,302,966.

Right now, the district can operate with an unbalanced budget and doesn’t need a reduction plan. If the deficit were to reach one-third of the estimated fund balance, then the district would need to have a three-year deficit reduction plan.

Although the district, like many other school districts in Illinois, is operating with a deficit, it has an excellent financial rating. That allows the district to take out loans if necessary.

During his presentation, Charron noted that the educational and transportation funds are the most important. Waterloo is overspending in the educational fund by $524,679. It is overspending in the transportation fund by $114,611. He added the district is spending on “needs rather than wants.”

The bus contract is due to end in the upcoming year, and Charron said the district would be looking at new options. If the trend continues, though, it may cost more money.

Some taxpaying citizens may wonder what the upcoming facility sales tax up for public vote could help with. The proposed countywide 1 percent tax, to be voted on in March, can help the district with its spending. It would be another source of revenue Waterloo could use to help with debt reduction and use for buildings. It would go into the capital projects and maintenance funds.

Charron said most state aid goes into the educational fund. But, the potential tax revenue would let the district keep money in the educational fund instead of moving it into other funds.

“If there was a countywide facility sales tax revenue, that money can’t go into the educational fund,” Charron said. “But that might later save money that would otherwise be diverted from the educational fund. So, to say it doesn’t help the overall health of the district’s finances would not be true. It does help the overall finances of the district because we wouldn’t have to divert other revenue to the operations and maintenance fund.”

As of now, the district projects to have $7,692,129 (on June 30, 2016) in the bank and in other investments such as certificates of deposits.  It should be noted that total comes from the combined funds of educational, operations and maintenance, transportation and working cash.

If trends continue, that money will shrink from year to year. Last year, it was estimated the school district would have $8,747,823 in savings for its operating funds.

In other news, the board approved the hiring of Kourtney Gimber, a social worker intern. Her salary can’t exceed $1,000.

In new business, the board added a list of goals to superintendent Charron’s contract.

“When I became superintendent I was given a three-year contract,” Charron said. “In my first year, I was to have these meetings with the board, so board meetings, committee meetings and throughout the first year I was supposed to identify, in conjunction with the board, what goals would be part of my contract.”

Those goals include things such as working on the climates of the district and the community, informing the district of financial matters and student safety.

The board meets the third Monday of every month at Gardner elementary.

Spencer Michelson

Spencer is a recent college grad and from the St. Louis Area. He spent the past year working for a small paper in Kansas and has found his way back to the area. He spends much of his time rooting for the Cardinals, Blues and Rams. He also enjoys binge-watching good television shows and going to the movies.