Columbia school budget OK’d

The approval of a budget for the 2022-23 school year and progress on Columbia High School renovation plans were among the major topics of discussion at last week’s school board meeting.

Columbia Superintendent of Schools Chris Grode began discussion of the budget by explaining that, though three funds on the budget are in the red, the district is not expected to dip into savings.

Revenues for the district’s operating funds are projected at $19,675,700, with expenditures of $19,785,265 expected for a total budget deficit of $109,565.

The education fund stands at $474,445 in the red, though Grode said the district had similar projections for the fund the last two years but ended each year in a much better situation.

“This is a worst-case scenario,” Grode said. “It’s kind of hard to judge with the COVID money that’s coming in and out, things of that nature, but I believe that we’ll most likely be in the black in the education fund.”

Grode also specifically mentioned the district’s capital projects fund which was allotted $700,000 but will come up rather short as over $1 million will be spent on renovations to the Columbia Middle School roof that were approved by the board this summer.

“The big project for this year is the middle school roof,” Grode said. “We’re coming up on 20 years. That building was built in 2005 … They’re doing what they did at Eagleview.”

Progress concerning the planned renovations at CHS were also discussed.

The district currently plans to put the topographical survey on hold, instead turning its focus to see what changes are most necessary within the school.

“What we’re doing now is having the architect do a programmatic audit and look at the inside of the building to see exactly how many more classrooms and what things we would need,” Grode said.

Grode specifically referenced outlets and other electrical work as areas where changes might need to be made at the high school.

It was also mentioned at the meeting that the proposed right turn lane from Eagle Drive onto Route 3 would not be going forward.

Grode later explained that the Illinois Department of Transportation hasn’t expressed willingness to handle that project.

One big announcement at the meeting came from Columbia School Board member Scott Middelkamp, who expressed he would not be seeking another term in office following the expiration of his current term at the end of this school year.

“That seems like a long way off, and it really isn’t because when it comes to – as folks here know – when it comes to getting signatures and getting on the ballot and doing those kinds of things, that’s right around the corner,” Middelkamp said. “But I just wanna get that out there and let everybody know that I’ll be hanging it up.”

Middelkamp, who has been on the board for about 15 years, was thanked by fellow board members for his work, including Columbia School Board President Greg Meyer, who thanked him for his knowledge and what he brought to the board.

At the end of the meeting, Meyer also expressed his thanks for the board in general for its work that allowed them to slightly reduce the tax burden on Columbia residents.

“Everybody notices when we raise taxes, but when we lower taxes, it’s kind of a quiet deal,” Meyer said. “This doesn’t happen very often.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Andrew Unverferth

HTC web