Kaneland works on more budget cuts

By on January 13, 2012

By Keith Beebe
Kaneland—Kaneland School Board members on Monday discussed the development of a budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which is intended to reduce expenditures as a means to compensate for a reduction in revenue.

According to a document from Superintendent Jeff Schuler, the School District’s cost-reduction process reduced projected expenditures by $6.3 million over the last three years. Due to state revenue cuts, the financial projections for Kaneland’s 2013 fiscal year suggest a $1 million deficit.

Schuler’s memorandum presented and outlined three budget options for the board to consider: a balanced budget with reductions in the ballpark of $900,000; a more conservative approach that would seek to reduce expenditures more than the projected $900,000 deficit; and a less conservative approach that would seek to reduce expenditures less than the projected deficit.

The board chose the balanced budget scenario, but insisted on reducing expenditures by approximately $1.1 million. With that change in place, the board voted 7-0 to approve the development of the 2013 fiscal year budget.

“I believe the board had made a decision to adhere to the finance goal in our strategic plan. It indicates that we will balance our budget each year and provide the best quality education that we can, given our financial reality,” Schuler said. “That means we will continue to make some difficult decisions as we plan for next school year and will identify options for reducing expenditures by $1.1 million.”

As was the case the previous two years, the district will use a cost-center approach to identify and target categories of expense in the budget that are necessary to cut in order to ease the deficit. Cost centers include district, elementary, middle and high school services, as well as categories for transportation, maintenance and technology. According to Schuler’s memorandum, the district will attempt to minimize cuts to student programs and staff workload.

This will be the third year the district has used the cost-center approach.

Schuler’s memorandum states that school districts provide three basic services:

• The bricks, mortar, operational resources and instructional resources needed to safely house and educate children
• The teachers necessary to educate children
• The staff and administration necessary to guide and maintain the system and support teachers and students

“Our primary goal is to graduate students college, career and community ready. As we identify potential cuts, we will do so with that mission in mind and continue to provide the highest quality education we can,” Schuler said.

School Board President Cheryl Krauspe said tough decisions lie ahead for the School Board.

“We have had to make some tough decisions in the last couple of years, and we will need to continue to do just that. Based on financial projections and the current economic uncertainties, the board has committed to meeting its fiscal responsibilities,” she said.