JSD 117 Sets Public Budget Hearing, Maneuvers Finances & Scheduling Concerns For Fall

By Benjamin Cox on May 15, 2020 at 9:45am

Jacksonville School District 117 is going to have to maneuver around revenue issues both from the county’s tax disbursement and from state funding. Treasurer Jamie Hadjan says that Morgan County Treasurer Jenny Geirnaeirt is changing the way the county is disbursing money to the school districts this year. “The property tax money that we receive [from the county] has always been in check form. They call me and I come and pick it up. They are changing that now. It’s going to go ACH as direct deposit. I’ve tried to talk [Treasuer Jenny Geirnaeirt] out of it because we are a cash-based school district. Therefore, when that hits my bank account at the end of June, it’s now going to count towards this year’s revenue. What makes it even more difficult is that with the whole COVID situation and the fact that the county has waived any kind of a penalty if you don’t make your first property tax installment payment as long as you pay the full amount by the due date in the second installment. Now, people don’t really have that incentive to make that first payment on time, so I’m struggling a little to try and figure out how much money I need to put in my revenue budget.”

Hadjan said she asked Geiraeirt to delay the ACH direct deposit payment, but Geirnaeirt has refused due to requirements placed on the county by the state. Hadjan says she’s going to earmark the money for next fiscal year in her reports for the board, despite the bank accounts showing the revenue arriving this year. Superintendent Steve Ptacek reminded the board that everyone is facing their own challenges and the district would adapt in kind. Hadjan said she would just make a note for auditors of the cash flow in the future.

The current amended budget will be available in the Central Office and online for public viewing until the June board meeting. A public hearing will be available for anyone who has budgeting questions for the district at the beginning of the June meeting.

Superintendent Ptacek then notified the board of the lowering of credit requirements for the Class of 2020 by the Illinois State Board of Education. Ptacek said the lowering of the requirements only effected about 13 students. Ptacek foresees a lot of changes are coming to scheduling next year: “If we have to be e-learning next year, we are going to have to modify schedules for many of the students and make changes on many of the students’s [schedules], which could reduce kids in many of our classes. There could be a number of many students that are not taking the level of electives that other kids are. There could be a number of kids not taking P.E. There are a lot of different opportunities we are going to have to think about. We are going to have to think outside the box about how to get the kids the critical learning skills they need and fulfill their specific needs as they try to finish high school. There is a lot of discussions we have to have over the next month and through the summer about what we are going to be doing next year.”

Ptacek says there are many ideas currently floating around about how the Fall in-person and possibly e-learning will work. Ptacek anticipates directives from ISBE by June 1st. He says much of how school in-person attendance will look will depend upon the data from states and regions that are currently reopening from stay-at-home orders. Ptacek says it will likely be one of the most chaotic summers for administration at school districts across the state in recent memory.