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A School District 91 budget meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11 showed the district’s budget to be in the black for the second straight year after a March, 2004 referendum which increased the local property tax rate by $1 per $100 EAV (equalized assessed valuation).

The district showed total revenues of $14,274,161, about $1 million less than last year. Supt. Randolph Tinder attributed the slight drop to a “windfall from the referendum.”

Over 85 percent of the school’s funding came from local sources ranging from property taxes to book fees. About 8.5 percent came from state sources, with the remaining 4.85 percent coming from federal funding. Much of the federal money, Tinder said, is tied in to specific programs mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.

“The federal government is having more and more impact on what we do even though it’s not giving us more money with which to do it,” he said.

The district’s total expenditures this year come to $13,113,823, creating a surplus of $1,160,333.

Out of these expenditures, $7,571,632, or just over 57 percent, will go towards salaries, while about 9.5 percent will go towards employee benefits.

Purchased services, including items such as legal counsel and mileage expenses, account for about 6 percent of expenditures, while supplies account for just under 9 percent.

The only area where the district continues to run a deficit is in the operations and maintenance department, where it will spend about $813,000 this year.

“We don’t have enough money coming in to operate our buildings,” said Tinder. “This will continue to be our Achilles’ heel.”

He said that in October, the district might make a loan from its working cash fund, which totals $3,889,353, into operations and maintenance in order to avoid interest payments.

“Overall, our picture is very healthy financially,” said Tinder.

Also at the school board meeting:

 The board voted unanimously to approve the hiring of District School Psychologist Angela Leo, full time Diagnostic Resource Consultant Becky Foster, Grant-White School 2nd grade teacher Jennifer Paczosa, 3rd grade teacher Sharon Urbauer, and 4th grade teacher Timothy Grivois, as well as Betsy Ross School 5th grade teacher Karen Valleau. Leo will start work next week, while the rest of the new hires will start on Aug. 29.

 The board voted unanimously to implement a district-wide employee assistance program through the Perspectives Group, a company specializing in employee assistance programs. For a cost of about $1.50 per employee, Perspectives will provide all of the district’s employees and their family members with services ranging from counseling and crisis management to medical and service referrals, according to Perspectives President Bernie Dymes.

Dymes said that Perspectives serves about 200 organizations and businesses nationally, with a total of nearly 250,000 employees. Services are provided over the phone, online, and in person when necessary.

 Tinder reviewed progress on a few minor construction projects which he said mark “hopefully the last” of the district’s recent surge in construction.

This year, he said, the district added two new classrooms at Betsy Ross and four at Field Stevenson. Though the usage of the classrooms will depend on the schools’ needs, the current plan is for one of the Betsy Ross classrooms to be used for special education, with the other used for a kindergarten class.

At Field Stevenson, Tinder said, two rooms will be used for 5th grade, one for kindergarten and the other for junior kindergarten.