Duneland holds hearings on budget plan

2013-09-25T20:45:00Z 2013-09-25T21:18:08Z Duneland holds hearings on budget planHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 25, 2013 8:45 pm  • 

CHESTERTON | The Duneland School Board held three public hearings on the 2014 budget plan providing an opportunity for input from the public.

Superintendent David Pruis reminded the public the numbers are inflated on purpose based on the limited information available from the state.

The separate hearings were for capital projects funding, bus replacement and the remaining budget.

For the bus replacement plan, Pruis said the school district is required to update a 12-year replacement plan annually and proposed a figure of $667,000 for 2014. It allows for replacing six buses.

Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz said she kept figures based upon the current level of assessed value. The state allows a capped rate for inflation of 2.6 percent, so the figures include a surplus to save for future purchases when bus costs are expected to go up.

The capital projects fund plan is developed annually for a three-year period. It goes to expenditures such as land acquisition, professional services, building acquisition, utilities, technology and more.

That budget is planned for 2014 at $10.5 million, for 2015 at $10.7 million, and for 2016 at $10.9 million. Kwilasz stressed it is overstated because it is a rate-capped fund.

Kwilasz said if needed, cuts can be made in the plan. Pruis said he expects the approved capital projects fund budget to be under $10 million after state adjustments.

The remaining budget plan included the other funds, such as debt service, school pension, transportation and the referendum. The general fund and the budget estimate was $64.3 million.

The School Board will meet Oct. 7 to vote on the budget.

Pruis said although he had hoped enrollment numbers would be up for this year, they are actually down about 40 to 45 students. He will have a better idea on the impact of state support to the budget at that October meeting and how it will affect Duneland.

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