Annual audit lauds District 117 finances

By Jim McCabe on October 17 at 12:46pm

It was a familiar tune sung by the firm that conducts the yearly financial audit for the Jacksonville school district last night.

At the board of education’s regularly-scheduled meeting, Valerie Flynn of Jacksonville-based Zumbahlen, Eyth, Surratt, Foote and Flynn gave the district high marks for not having any debt and for getting a high score on the state board of education’s financial report card.

Flynn says in regards to the total district expenditures, District 117 was up over a million dollars in cash this year.

“That’s good because they have reacted to the limitations of their revenue coming through,” says Flynn. “They’ve made cuts that they deem necessary and didn’t end up with a large deficit that I’ve seen this year from a lot of schools.”

A slew of cuts and fees were implemented earlier this year as board members stared down a two-million-dollar deficit. The board trimmed nearly one million dollars in July through the elimination of about 30 aide positions and a switch of insurance providers.

Like last year, Flynn says District 117 is hampered in terms of looking towards the future by what’s happening in Springfield.

“Schools are really struggling right now managing the unknown future,” she says. “What’s going to happen with the pension funds? What’s going to happen with state aid, transportation aid? You’re trying to make decisions with money and revenue streams that are unknown at this time.”

District administrators and members of the board last night expressed enthusiasm that the state legislature no longer seems to be discussing shifting pension costs to downstate school districts.

District 117’s chief financial officer had previously stated doing so would adversely impact the district’s finances.