A slide presentation during the January D209 meeting showed how the $9.1M budget cushion was achieved. | Slide from D209 meeting

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Due to additional funding and COVID-related savings, Proviso Township High School District 209 announced it started the new year with a $9.1 million budget cushion.

Paul Starck-King, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, who is retiring at the end of the school year, presented information at the January board meeting about the revenues and savings that have created this budget cushion for the district.

Additional revenues for the district include $4.9 million in federal CARES Act money and $267,000 in a digital equity grant.

Savings include $1,260,122 in salaries and benefits for positions the district isn’t filling for now; $2,578,033 in transportation; and $130,894 in school liaison officers.

Starck-King said the CARES Act money can most likely be used for expenses already planned, since “the language we’ve seen around it so far is pretty loose.”

In a press release, D209 indicated that “despite the $4.5M hit the district took when it had to transition quickly to remote learning when the COVID-19 pandemic began,” the district is now on a strong financial footing.

“We had to dip into our savings account when the pandemic hit and I am proud to say that we have replenished the cushion. We are thankful that [Superintendent James] Henderson and his team have been diligent in keeping the district on good financial ground during these trying times,” said D209 Board President Rodney Alexander in the press release.

Throughout the pandemic, work has continued on the Facilities Master Plan, with Phase 1, Sequence 1 projects completed at all three high schools.

At Proviso East, this work includes culinary arts classroom renovations, a physical education field and walking track, relocation of the auto shop, new hot water storage tanks and recirculation pumps, work on the north parking lot, landscaping and stormwater management.

At Proviso West, work includes the advanced manufacturing classrooms, revamping of the north lot, field house transformation, and new hot water storage tanks and recirculation pumps.

At the Proviso Math and Science Academy works includes renovation of the parking lot, including landscaping and physical education playing fields.

All three D209 high school buildings and/or grounds are undergoing extensive renovation, including PMSA, pictured here, where the parking lot was completely redone. | Maxham

Bids for contractors for the next phase of work on the Facilities Master Plan came in at $6.8M under budget, according to a representative from Gilbane at the January D209 board meeting.

According to a press release from the district, “This will allow the district to reallocate funds into instructional programs that further improve academic success.”