CHESTERTON |The Duneland School Board will advertise an estimated 2014 budget of $64,397,556, nearly $900,000 more than the 2013 advertised budget of $63,525,458. In 2013, the amount certified was $62,616,299.
The budget estimates were unanimously approved by the board at a sparsely-attended meeting Monday.
CFO Lynn Kwilesz presented the details of the budget, which can be viewed by visiting the Duneland School Board Administration Center and will be available for comment during a public meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 25.
The budget estimate for the general fund is $34,575,000; debt service is $7,412,225; school pension debt is $1,601,431; capital projects is $10,500,000; transportation is $3,966,900; bus replacement is $667,000; and the referendum fund is $5,675,000.
She said the board is proposing a plan to replace six buses during 2014 and projected the number of bus replacements as anywhere from six to nine buses per year through 2025 with increasing cost per unit to adjust for rising replacement rates.
Kwilesz also discussed the capital projects fund, which is capped by the tax levy, noting the planed amount was set high to realize all of the funds available for such items as professional services, utilities, technology, rental of buildings, and land acquisition and development.
“We have been very fortunate over the years to have a capital projects fund to allow us to maintain our facilities and advances in technology, and like the other budgets, we are going to advertise high to get the amount of money we can and we should be in good shape,” said Superintendent Dr. David Pruis.
The amount of funds coming from tax levies for 2014 is advertised as $28,568,800; in 2013 the amount advertised was $29,793,020 and the certified amount was $26,722,596.
“Most of what we see is relatively comparable because there aren’t a lot of changes,” said Kwilesz.
The meeting to adopt the budget has been set for Oct. 7.
In other comments, Pruis noted that school is back in session and administration has been visiting all of the schools.
“It is somewhat expected that when you walk into a school building on the first day of school, teachers are teaching and the classrooms are full and school is going on. There are smiles on faces and excitement. It has been very positive and we are off to a good start,” he said, adding that kindergarten enrollment numbers are up and overall the numbers are down by 40 students.