School Board Approves 2022 Budget, Waiver of Lein for Bowl Roof

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 29, 2021 at 10:24am

Distinct 117 approved the fiscal year 2022 budget last night.

During a special meeting of the Jacksonville District 117 School Board Tuesday, members of the board unanimously approved a new annual budget.

District Chief Financial Officer Rick Cunningham reported that some adjustments were made to the final numbers due to the bond sale from earlier in the summer. The budget was presented for approval with a deficit of over $3 million.

District Superintendent Steve Ptacek says though, that approving the annual budget with an anticipated deficit is normal practice at the start of the new fiscal year.

We are following the exact same trend that we have done for my eight previous years here, and that is we underestimate our revenues and overestimate our expenditures. If you look back in the budgets in each of the eight previous years our fall budget shows a deficit spending, and then as we actually don’t spend as much money as we budgeted and we earn more money, then we end up with a positive gain at the end of the year in our fund balances.

That’s one way we’ve readily increased our fund balances every year for the last eight years and we plan to do that also this year. This year with some of the extra expenses and some of the concerns it might be closer to normal. But the three million dollar deficit spending is a normal amount we do on a forty million dollar budget every year in our budget cycle.”

The bond sale netted the District $12.6 million for District 117 for use on the Washington Elementary building renovations. Ptacek says the changes referenced by the CFO due to the bond sale funds are because it can’t be calculated in as regularly recurring revenue.

So that has to be put into a budget line item that is a specific targeted area, and then the expenditures will come out of that also. So you basically remove those two since they are a wash when you look at our bigger spending for the entire year.

It’s kind of like if you got a bonus check at home for five thousand dollars, you don’t throw that into your monthly budget for bills, you say what can I spend this five thousand dollars on, or am I going to invest it and you pull it aside. With the sales tax bond sale, we have to do the exact same thing.”

The school board also gave unanimous approval to the annual Administrator & Teacher Salary and Benefits report as well as a partial waiver of lien for roof replacement work on The Bowl.

The wavier of lien comes with a required payment from the district of just over $84,000 of the $257,742.00 total project bill. A few members of the board found it curious that this project included a waver and initial payment as opposed to a required bond.

Ptacek says at the end of the day, the board trusts the architects who signed off on the course of action as they have overseen most of the building projects since he has been Superintendent. He says he feels it is likely a sign of the times when it comes to building projects right now.

What I can gain from that is they are wanting to purchase some of the materials upfront, which normally we don’t purchase until the very end of the project. But I do think part of that has to do with the COVID lack of materials. That they had the opportunity to get the materials here, ensure it’s on time, and I think that’s why there’s a partial payment at this point in time, and we are glad to do that to get the project started without having them sit there having to wait on materials.”

Ptacek says he has not been given a specific date the roof replacement project will begin at The Bowl, however, some of the materials have already been delivered and he anticipates that it will begin soon.