District 122 approves tentative fiscal year 2018 budget
The New Lenox School District 122 Board of Education reviewed and took action Aug. 16 to approve its fiscal year 2018 tentative budget.
The budget will be on public display for 30 days at the district office for review.
For fiscal year 2018, the district presented a $780,223 operating surplus, and the remaining funds are to pay for building renovations during the next few summers. The district ended with a $2.8 million dollar surplus last year, and the money leftover is to pay for building renovations during the next few summers, as well.
Groos said he is hopeful the district will get closer to the original approximate $1.8 surplus they forecasted in June and January.
“Pretty much everything, if you compare the five-year forecast to our tentative budget, everything is very similar—very consistent,” Groos said. “The only reason it’s about a million dollars less in terms of our surplus is, as of right now, I’ve included only three categorical payments for the year.”
Last year, for example, the district received two of its state payments and the third quarter installment came in Aug. 10.
“We received that one [payment,] so we know we have that one for this year, and then we’ll also most likely receive last year’s [fourth quarter] payment this year,” Groos said. “What I’ve budgeted for here is to see one payment for this current school year, so it’s debatable whether or not to include a second payment in budget for this next school year.”
Groos said nobody is projecting to bring in more than two categorical payments during this current school year.
“I think only collecting one payment is kind of—I don’t know I want to say pessimistic—I’d say it’s 50/50, and the only way to know, for sure, is to see what happens over the next few weeks in terms of the school funding laws that they come up with [in Springfield.]”
To date, the State of Illinois is $14 billion behind in payment to school districts and other units of government.
A budget hearing will be held in September, at which point the board is to discuss the final budget. At that point, officials will take action on it.
“It’s really a matter of we’ll make that decision for the final legal budget of whether or not to keep that second payment in there, or just keep only one payment for the school year in there,” Groos said.
Superintendent Peggy Manville said the district should “stay inspired” that they’ll receive two categorical payments this year.
The district is projecting to end the fiscal year with $28 million surplus with only one categorical accounted for. That represents a 55 percent operating fund balance, which Groos said, is excellent.
“That’s about six-and-half months worth of reserves, and like we say each year, these sufficient fund balances and operating surpluses allow New Lenox School District  to continue to offer high quality programs, despite all the potential future funding reductions… and also continue to improve our district infrastructure without the need to issue any new debt at this time,” he said.
In a 6-0 decision, officials approved the fiscal year 2018 tentative budget as presented to the board. Board Member Michele Degroot Rosenfeld was absent.
Round it up
A brief recap of Board of Education action from the Aug. 16 regular meeting:
The board approved the disposal of a 2007 Ford utility van due to the asset no longer being in good working condition. A newer vehicle will be purchased at a later date to replace it.
Officials agreed to award a one-year to Quest Food Management to support its box lunch program. While the district decided to not award the contract to Revolution Foods for not securing the needed other local bids, officials went on to use the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition and Wellness small purchase process to secure another offer for the 2017-2018 academic year. To participate in the program, students will pay $3.25 per meal.
Board members were presented the unaudited results from fiscal year 2017. As of July, the district reportedly spent roughly $1 million less than budgeted and collected approximately $1 million less than expected, in part, because State of Illinois payments were not received. The final budget was 99.96 percent accurate, with forecasted numbers amounting to $36, 977,000 and actual projections totaling to $36,944,000.