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posted: 3/6/2012 2:15 PM

District 116 talking finance at community forum Thursday

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  • Bill Johnston

      Bill Johnston

 
 

Round Lake Area Unit District 116 will host a forum for residents to learn more about school finances Thursday night.

District 116 board members and administrators will hold the community forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Round Lake High School's theater. Officials plan a presentation and will allot time for a question-and-answer session.

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Money often has been an issue at District 116, which was near collapse because of its sorry financial health when the state's school finance authority received the oversight powers in 2002. District 116 regained its financial footing after about eight years and again is under local control.

District 116's assistant superintendent of business, Bill Johnston, said he plans to provide a history of finance there, including a look at what happened in the 1990s that placed the school system in peril. He'll also go over how the state provided the district's financial oversight.

In addition, Johnston said, visitors can expect to hear about District 116's revenue forecast for the next five years and an explanation about the process that determines how money is allotted.

Johnston said he intends to make the financial presentation easy for everyone to understand.

"I'll try to compare what the corporate world is compared to school accounting," he said.

District 116's budget for the 2011-12 academic year shows projected revenue at $62.6 million and spending at $61.8 million. Unlike most Lake County school systems that are heavily dependent on local property taxes, District 116 expects about $32 million -- or more than 50 percent -- in state money for its budget.

As part of the return to local control, Constance Collins took over as District 116's superintendent in July 2010. She became the district's first superintendent since the state took over financial oversight in 2002.

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