School Board approves 2014-15 tentative budget

By on August 1, 2014

KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board on Monday agreed to the 2014-15 school year tentative budget.

School Board trustee Tony Valente was the lone “no” vote. Kaneland School Board President Cheryl Krauspe was absent from the meeting.

Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for Business, reviewed the tentative budget during the meeting. According to the report, the tentative budget totals $66.5 million. The Education Fund has a projected deficit of $3 million.

Two funds have surpluses, including the Operations and Maintenance Fund at $115,000 and the Transportation Fund at $1.9 million.

A big chunk of the budget is funded from property taxes that were levied last December. The only two board members who consistently voted against the tax increase were Valente and Pedro Rivas.

Fuchs pointed out that transferring money to the Education Fund isn’t currently necessary. However, she added that a transfer might be needed next school year. She explained that if equalized assessed value (EAV) goes up, the ability to levy is greater; if the EAV is the same or lower, that means a larger transfer is needed next year.

“This year, you’re fine,” she said to the board.

Valente called the idea of transferring funds to go into the Education Fund “backdoor-ish.”

“To me, it is not only unethical, it’s despicable,” he said.

Valente added that the law was broken from a “moral perspective.”

School Board member Peter Lopatin weighed in on the issue of transferring money from the Transportation Fund.

“I don’t believe that there’s an intentional sleight of hand here,” he said.

Fuchs said that the legislature has recognized the need to transfer money and has extended the ability to do so through 2016.

“We’re not alone,” she said.

Fuchs said that it would not be legal to have a referendum.

“We can’t go out because we’re so far out in debt,” she said, noting that the district has about $189 million in debt.

There will be a public hearing on this budget at the Sept. 8 School Board meeting. The board will take a vote on the budget.