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Local News

Plainfield District 202 proposed budget expects $7.6 million surplus

A public hearing and vote on budget is set for Aug. 20

The proposed 2018-19 operating budget for Plainfield School District 202 is expected to see revenues outpace expenses by about $7.6 million, or about 3 percent.

This surplus is due in part to the new state funding formula, according to a news release from the district. Last year, the state Legislature approved a new “evidence-based” funding system that sends more money to districts with greater fiscal need.

According to the release, District 202’s state funding is expected to increase after years of declining and unreliable state support. The lack of reliable state support required the district to significantly cut staff and reduce operating expenses from 2009 to 2012 to save about $45 million.

The budget proposal shows expected revenues at $283.5 million, up from $253.6 million last year. The increase is because of the district underbudgeting anticipated revenues last year because of state funding issues in recent years.

The proposal shows $275.9 million in expected expenses, which also is an increase from $264.2 million last year. Most of the increase is due to salaries and benefits, which make up about 79 percent of the operating budget.

Administration and nonunion support staff, certified staff and support staff will receive raises ranging from 2.25 percent and 2.75 percent. Benefits also are budgeted to reflect a 2 percent increase because of health care premium increases.

The district’s Board of Education received the proposed budget at its regular meeting Monday and approved putting it on 30-day public display, as required by law.

Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Rick Engstrom said in the release that the proposed budget will allow the district to maintain high-quality educational programs. He said it keeps property taxes as low as possible, is balanced and maintains “recognition” status – the highest possible ranking – on the State Board of Education’s Financial Profile.

The state of Illinois considers education, operations and maintenance, transportation, working cash, the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund and tort funds together as the “Operating Budget” to assess and rate the school district’s financial health.

This is the first time in several years the district does not plan to prorate any state funds, or budget for less state revenue than what the district is due, according to the release.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20. The Board of Education will then vote on it at its regular meeting the same night. The meeting will be held at the District 202 Administrative Center, 15732 Howard St. in Plainfield.

District 202 is the fifth-largest public school system in the state by enrollment. Besides Plainfield, the district serves students from a 64-square mile ares including parts of Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Joliet, Lockport, Romeoville and unincorporated Will and Kendall counties.

Visit the District 202 website for information.

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