Brookwood District 167 approves tentative budget

2013-08-14T18:45:00Z 2013-08-14T22:29:32Z Brookwood District 167 approves tentative budgetDavid P. Funk Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 14, 2013 6:45 pm  • 

GLENWOOD | The Brookwood School District 167 board approved a tentative $16.6 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year Monday night.

District Treasurer Robert Grossi and Business Manager Andrew Ziegler made separate presentations, outlining $15.4 million in expected revenue for an expected $1.2 million deficit. District 167 has about $12 million in it's fund balance, part of which will cover the deficit.

"Wherever it's needed, we will make those cuts because we don't want a large deficit and we don't want it to impact our signature programs for our kids," Superintendent Valorie Moore said. "We do have a lot of work."

Grossi said the district is "vulnerable" to a potential state financial crisis with about a third of revenue coming from Springfield.

"That's a pretty high number statewide, but it's pretty average in our area," Grossi said. "It seems like the propensity of data that's going to determine the fate of your finances (is) more negative than positive."

Board President Deborah Birmingham called for an "education revolution" and asked for residents to get involved with the district.

"Today more than ever, school boards are facing many challenges to provide education to the limit that taxpayers are willing to support," she said. "Rising health care costs, an unpredictable financial future and reduced state funding can make it quite difficult for the board of education to remain dedicated to its mission."

Grossi praised the board's fiscal management over the last 20 years. District 167 usually operates with a surplus, he said.

"I work with about 40 or 50 school districts and I've been doing this for about 26 years. You guys are the first district I've ever worked with that used a long-term financial plan to make financial decisions," he said. "As a result, you've always spent within your means."

The board also approved a change in district medical benefits from Allied Benefit Systems, which uses Cigna, to Blue Cross Blue Shield. That change will take effect Sept. 1.

"We're always looking at ways to save our district money," Moore said. "The great news is, it does not change (employees') benefits at all."

The Horton Group, an insurance brokerage based in Orland Park, made a presentation to the board outlining the savings of switching to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Moore also invited them to make a presentation to teachers at institute day on Aug. 19.

"Certainly, Blue Cross has a strong Chicagoland presence with school districts and public sector businesses," Horton Senior Vice President Michael Wojcik said. "It's a very sought-after carrier."

Wojcik said the district would save about $45,000 with the switch.

A hearing on the budget will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 in the district administration building, 201 Glenwood-Dyer Road. It will be open to the public.

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