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updated: 7/25/2011 10:27 PM

District 300 expects budget surplus

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Despite the state still owing Community Unit District 300 about $9 million in categorical payments from the previous school year, school leaders said the district will start the 2011-12 school year in the black.

At Monday's school board meeting, District 300 Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates gave an update on the 2011-12 budget that shows the district would see a budget surplus between $500,000 and about $9.5 million, depending on payments it receives from the state.

"The budget is balanced, but it's based on the assumption that the state will make four payments next year," Crates said. "That's a pretty big assumption given the state has been about 50 percent in the last two years."

The state recently paid the district about $1 million, and Crates said it is unlikely the state would make any additional categorical payments owed from the 2010-11 school year. Categorical payments support programs such as special education and transportation.

"By now, it's likely we're done getting what we're going to get," Crates said.

While the state had paid 100 percent of the general state aid it owed the district for the 2010-11 school year, Crates said the state has indicated it would withhold about 5 percent of general state aid next year.

To balance the budget, the district also approved about $6.7 million in reductions and concessions. About $3.1 million in programs were cut, and another $3.6 million in savings came from wage concessions by the teachers union.

The district had targeted $8.3 million in savings for the new school year, but the union was unable to meet the $5.2 million in wage and benefit concessions the district had requested.

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