Dear Community Member,
In December, I shared with you information and concerns regarding our financial forecast. Since the writing of that letter, there has been a considerable amount of time and attention spent at public board meetings discussing how the district might address budget shortfalls in next school year’s budget. The Board of Education has looked at numerous options and reviewed public feedback as part of their diligence in addressing the projected budget deficit, determining how to best allocate its declining resources, and continuing to work toward achieving the strategic goals of the district.
Over the last several weeks, we have learned that the fiscal uncertainties at the state level may lead to further reductions in the revenue we receive from the state. Illinois is now ranked 50th in terms of indebtedness. The state’s $13 billion dollar deficit is so substantial that the state’s responsibility for supporting the education of students may be further lessened in the year and years ahead.
With state funding being our second largest revenue source, the state’s financial crisis will significantly impact our budget. It has been projected that school districts could see state revenue reductions ranging from 10% to 40%. In addition to an overall loss of state revenue there are delays in the state making payments to school districts this year. Currently, we have been waiting to receive more than $1.4 million dollars in revenue since October. At this time, we do not know when this revenue will be received or if/when the state will be able to pay the remaining dollars owed to the district. The state has not been able to provide us with any information as how or when the fiscal crisis at the state level will be solved for either this year or next year.
At the February 23rd Board meeting, the Board of Education spent considerable time discussing how to prepare for further decreases in state funding. Based on the information known at this time, we expect to see losses of state revenue ranging from $822,250 to $3,153,084. Taking into account this information and the uncertainty of the state’s ability to pay on a timely basis, the Board increased their reduction target amount from $2,050,000 to $2,823,126. The reduction target includes $541,270 in revenue enhancements and $2,281,856 in expenditure reductions. Although the reduction level was increased, concerns remain as to whether or not this will be enough to make certain that we will be able to have a balanced budget and enough cash to avoid short term borrowing next year.
Despite the best efforts of all concerned, we have the unfortunate reality of having to make some type of staff reduction in force. In accordance with Illinois School Code, we are required to notify teachers in March that they will be released from employment for the following year. We are in the process of determining how and who may be affected by the reduction in force. In the event that the fiscal outlook changes over the course of the next several months, staff may be recalled.
These challenging fiscal times are stressful for each and every one of us. We are in the position of having to deal with the impact of both reduced tax revenues and the unprecedented financial crisis at the state level. Of the many things that have come to the forefront during the last several months is the reminder that we have both a finite set of resources and a strong desire to improve the outcomes for our students. These two goals are not necessarily competing goals, but are ones that have required us to make very difficult decisions about how and where we allocate our resources.
If there is a place where you would like to focus your concerns, I ask for your help in contacting officials in Springfield asking them to work toward meeting their commitment to the education of our students. It would also be important for them to know the significant impact further decreased funding will have on the education of ALL students in the state of Illinois. Contact information for our local legislators and other key General Assembly leaders is provided below.
House Bill (HB) 2240 is a recently enacted bill that gives all Illinois citizens an opportunity to participate in recommending solutions to the state’s financial crisis. Between February 24th and March 10th, the members of the public may make written budget recommendations to the Governor who shall promptly make those recommendations available to the public through the Governor’s internet website. For the first time, we are being ‘invited’ to share our solutions and views with policymakers. I strongly encourage you to participate in this historic opportunity for meaningful civic engagement. Your ideas and suggestions will only have a chance of impacting the way schools are funded if you put them in writing and send them on to the Governor.
Lynn S. Krizic, Ed.D.
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205
Governor – Pat Quinn (D)
Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, Ste. 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Speaker of the House – Mike Madigan (D) email@example.com
6500 S. Pulaski RoadChicago, IL 60629
300 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Representative Dennis Reboletti (R) firstname.lastname@example.org
50 E. Oak St., Suite 250
Addison, IL 60101
Representative Robert Biggins (R) email@example.com
114 W. Vallette
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Senator Dan Cronin (R) Cronin@aol.com
313 S. Main St.
Lombard, IL 60148
Senator Carole Pankau (R) firstname.lastname@example.org
One Tiffany Point, Suite G
Bloomingdale, IL 60108