CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Bloom Township School District 206 board members on Monday unanimously approved cutting spending on the current and next three budgets.
The district finance committee has been reviewing the 2012-13 school year budget looking for ways to reduce the almost $10 million deficit. The first step, taken at the last board meeting, was to abate the $5 million working cash fund and move that money to the operating budget.
School Superintendent Lennell Navarre told the School Board the district had $26 million in revenue and $35 million in expenses before the abatement.
“We are still looking at a deficit between $4 and $5 million,” Navarre said. “The finance committee as well as the school administration is still looking at opportunities to reduce that further.”
The board established a policy that it would reduce the deficit by 1 percent with the 2013-14 budget, 2 percent with the 2014-15 budget, and 3 percent with the 2015-16 budget.
“The policy will enforce budgets that are reducing the overall district deficit,” Navarre said. “We need to be fiscally responsible to our taxpayers and make sure they know we are doing everything we can to hold spending while providing quality education.”
Earlier this year, the state announced it would reduce the amount of state aid to District 206 from 89 percent to 80 percent. Bloom District Treasurer Rob Grossi told Navarre the state may short the district $2.6 million from the original amount it was to be paid during the year.
“Our financial condition will be impacted by the state shortage,” Navarre told the board. “We will need to take measures to help offset that deficit.
“The students are first and foremost,” Navarre said. “We do not want to cut any costs that diminish the quality of the education our students receive. We need to look at creative ways to contain costs without impacting education.”
There will be more meetings to plan available options. Navarre said the process will be ongoing all school year.
“This is not something that will be handled quickly,” he said. “It will require regular and continuous work.”