Jacksonville School District 117 had an eye to the future for their final monthly board meeting on August 29th. The mostly procedural school board meeting tackled some personnel issues in lengthy executive session. However, during open meeting, the board finalized their Fiscal Year 2020 budget process, talked about concerns from upcoming state mandates and funding, and opened the bidding process for the Field House and Central Office roof.
Jamie Hadjan, district treasurer, walked the board through the budgeting process in simple terms during the committee of the whole meeting. The next step for the board will be holding a public hearing after the public will get to see the preliminary budget posted at the Central Office and online. The board will then approve the budget after the public comment period. The final budget would be published. The budget would then be adopted prior to the end of the first quarter of the school year. The budget then gets submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education by October 30th.
Ptacek says that the board has been very good about staying on budget compared to recent years and the healthy bidding for major projects has also helped to keep costs down.
The first hearing on the budget will occur on September 30th at 5:30. Ptacek said during the meeting that there were a few concerns of large class sizes in a few locations. He then did cross comparisons of previous years. He said that while the boundary restructuring that took place two years ago wasn’t perfect, he believed overall it was successful. He is looking forward to showing the public in further detail how the boundary restructuring process has worked in the near future.
Ptacek told the board that he doesn’t foresee the teacher minimum wage causing issues for the district down the road because the district hires a lot of teachers with experience who come at a higher cost anyway. He believes the overall minimum wage increase to $15 per hour over the next four years will be the major budgeting concern. His other concern is out-migration and consolidation of smaller districts into District 117. “We just looked at the IHSA website for the enrollment for some of the schools surrounding us. There are 3 schools in the area where the high school enrollment is somewhere around 70 students. At one point in time, especially with the state’s Consolidation Committee meeting, we don’t know what the school landscape is going to look like five years from now.”
Despite a grim outlook, Ptacek says that with the district being frugal and tracking where they should be on budgeting, that the current school year, barring any unforeseen issues should continue to be successful for the long term health of the school district.