School Board approves cost limitation waiver submission

By on February 28, 2014

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday voted to submit a waiver for administrative cost limitation to the Illinois State Board of Education.

The vote requests a “one-time, one-year waiver.” The matter is expected to go to the General Assembly in August.

Tony Valente was the only board member to vote against the waiver, though fellow trustee Peter Lopatin had a long pause before voting yes. Board member Pedro Rivas voted yes with “hesitation.”

The issue would have had a hearing and been up for a vote at the Jan. 27 meeting had the gathering not been cancelled due to extremely cold weather conditions. The majority of Monday’s meeting attendees were Kaneland staff, and there were no public comments during the hearing.

According to a report by Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, Kaneland assistant superintendent for business, under ILCS 5/17-1.5, the cost cap’s purpose is to “establish limitations on the growth of administrative expenditures in order to maximize the proportion of school district resources available for the instructional program, building maintenance, and safety services for the students of each district.”

Fuchs noted information of administrative limitation.

“The limitation in administrative expenditures each year is 5 percent over the prior year’s actual expenditures,” Fuchs stated in the report.

Administrative expenditures included in the calculation are executive administration services (superintendent), special area administration services (director of special education), direction of business support services (assistant superintendent for business) and internal services (administrative copy costs).

The report added that an auditor who completed an annual financial report noted that the actual administrative expenditures for fiscal year 2013 was $650,192. Fiscal year 2014 is budgeted at $696,129. The difference accounts for 7 percent or $45,937, with the 5 percent limit at $682,701.

The Kaneland District is $13,428 over the expected limit.

Fuchs pointed out in the report that the main reason for the “overage” is because of salary and benefit increases that the board approved in spring 2013 for Fran Eggleston, director of Special Education, and Kaneland Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler. Eggleston’s increase was due to the additional work days tagged onto her contract. Schuler’s salary adjustment was discussed by the board last spring.

Board President Cheryl Krauspe said that there had been 1 year of voluntary salary reduction and a two-year salary freeze.

“It seems we’re spending, spending, spending,” Valente said. “(That’s) not responsible to our constituents.”

Rivas questioned what would happen if the board did not approve the waiver submission.

“The state could stop our state funding,” Fuchs said. “They can penalize us.”

The report added that an auditor who completed
an annual financial report noted that the actual
administrative expenditures for fiscal year
2013 was $650,192.

Fiscal year 2014 is budgeted
at $696,129.
The difference accounts for 7 percent or $45,937,
with the 5 percent limit at $682,701.

The Kaneland District is $13,428 over
the expected limit.