During a regular meeting on Aug. 10, the Proviso Township High School District 209 school board voted unanimously to display a tentative budget for the 2022 fiscal year. A public hearing for the estimated budget is scheduled for Sept. 14.
Total projected revenue in the FY 2022 budget is $117.5 million while total projected expenses in FY22 amount to $129.3 million.
During his presentation of the tentative budget, Leonard Moody, D209’s coordinator for accounting and finance, said federal revenue sources were up substantially over 2021, going from $7.2 million to $23.7 million.
Moody said that $18 million of that federal funding is related to pandemic stimulus assistance.
“We project revenues conservatively. We try to make sure we don’t overestimate what we think we’re going to get, so we try to be conservative about that,” Moody said.
“This projection preserves healthy fund balances,” he said. “We’ll also be able to maintain the Financial Profile rating [an increased financial designation the district received from the state in recent years] and it takes full advantage of those stimulus funds.”
The most substantial increases in revenue from the last fiscal year were due to transportation, and costs related to operations and maintenance. Transportation costs went from $1.5 million in 2021 to a projected level of $6 million in FY 22 while operation and maintenance costs are projected to go from $8.5 million in FY 2021 to $14.9 million in FY 2022.
The district is expected to cover the bulk of capital expenses that aren’t covered with existing revenues through the fund balance based on a gradual drawdown plan that was put in place when the Facilities Master Plan was created in 2019.
The district’s fund balance for FY 2022 is projected to be $77.9 million, down from $89.8 million in 2021.
“Even though we’re projecting a lower fund balance, there’s a rational financial reason for that,” Moody said. “Our fund balance is still very healthy. The board instituted a policy that requires the fund balance to remain above 33% of expenses and even taking the balance down to support the FMP, we will still be well above that mark.”
Moody said the district plans on spending grant money on a “new instructional framework, so grade level principals and coaching are things that can be supported through grants.”
Moody said that those funds may also support the “addition of an equity officer, so we won’t have to use local funds for that new initiative. We’re stretching those revenue dollars.”
During the regular meeting, D209 board President Rodney Alexander said the district’s budget reflects a funding structure that “we’ll be utilizing long-term, after the grant money is gone,” adding that the district has planned for future expenses related to food services, curriculum and transportation, among other spending areas.
The 2022 fiscal year runs from July 1, 2021 through June 20, 2022. The board is expected to approve the final budget on Sept. 30.