The District 91 school board voted unanimously to transfer $1 million from its transportation fund to its operations and maintenance fund at a regular meeting on June 13, moving the money to fund staff salaries and building upgrades. The transfer was necessitated by the state-mandated tax cap, officials said. 

“We can’t collect enough property tax revenue to help pay for all that staff to support five schools, so this transfer is going to help fund the day-to-day operations and then, of course, those one-time, non-recurring projects,” Assistant Superintendent Ed Brophy said at the meeting. 

Brophy noted that 46 percent of the expenditures in the fund are used to fund maintenance staff salaries and benefits. The rest of the money is used to pay for building and resource upgrades, like the potential purchase of a new pickup truck next year. He added that the district still needed to go out to bid for the 1996 pickup truck replacement, which has 75,000 miles on it, “and that’s going forward; that’s not counting the miles going backward when it’s plowing. Yes, we have to count the reverse miles too.” 

The transportation fund does not have a property tax cap, Brophy said, while the operations and maintenance fund does limit the amount of property tax that can be requested in its levy. 

“There’s a limit to what that can be each year and, unfortunately, until our equalized assessed value starts to increase, we’ve reached that limit,” he said at a May board of education meeting. Adding the $1 million to the operations and maintenance fund will “shore up and make sure to cover its expenditures and have the reserve it needs as well.” 

As of June 26, the district held $392,794 in the transportation fund and $2,578,022 in its operations and maintenance fund.

Nona Tepper