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Local News

Yorkville School District officials working to balance budget

Mike Vargas, director of business services for Yorkville School District 115, talks during the district's Monday, Sept. 14 Board of Education meeting at the Yorkville High School library.
Mike Vargas, director of business services for Yorkville School District 115, talks during the district's Monday, Sept. 14 Board of Education meeting at the Yorkville High School library.

YORKVILLE – Yorkville School District 115 officials are expecting to spend less than anticipated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are anticipating budget deficits if nothing changes prior to the adoption of the 2020-2021 budget later this month.

Mike Vargas, director of business services for the school district, said during the district's Monday committee of the whole meeting that district officials are projecting a total operating deficit of $45,000 and a total budget deficit of about $516,000. He said that projection is as it stands Monday, Sept. 14 and if all current budget assumptions remain accurate.

“That number might change in the next few weeks, but the goal will remain the same in that we will try to develop a balanced budget, if possible,” Vargas said.

According to district documents, expected salary and benefit impacts, along with COVID-19 related expenses, include the district eliminating $145,000 of unnecessary anticipated lunchroom staffing costs, actual custodial staff costs being $375,000 less than anticipated and projected lunchroom aides costs being $243,928 less than anticipated.

Vargas said the district is projecting about $1.2 million in total COVID-19 related expenditures this school year as opposed to the originally anticipated $1.9 million. He said staff realized additional related hiring costs are expected to be significantly lower than anticipated and the district was conservative with its initial salary projections.

“Because we simply did not know what that would look like until we got closer to the start of the school year,” Vargas said.

The district is expecting about $33 million in property tax revenue for this coming budget year, per district documents. Vargas said that is a little less than the district usually collects annually, as reported in a five year analysis.

Vargas said he also checked with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Revenue about what the district can expect for corporate personal property replacement tax revenue. He said it's his understanding the district is to expect about $392,000 for this year, which is about $175,000 less than what was initially anticipated.

Vargas said district officials and building principals are continuing to work to identify areas where further savings could be identified or funds could be reallocated, including changes in internet providers at schools and out of district special education.

District officials anticipate about $262,000 in reimbursement revenue from the CARES Act and about $30,000 from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, per district documents.

At least district officials are living in an era where there are extremely low interest rates, school board president Lynn Burks said.

“And that is not going to change” anytime soon, Burks said.

The final budget is expected to go before the school board during its regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 28.

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