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updated: 8/19/2013 9:55 PM

U-46 offers up balanced budget for 2014

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Elgin Area School District U-46 administrators offered a balanced budget to the board of education Monday night but one that included plenty of sobering details.

Property values in the district continue to fall and the low-income population continues to rise -- two factors that affect funding for the state's second-largest district.

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U-46 will get $86 million from the state for its fiscal year 2014, which started July 1 and ends next June. That's $23 million more than last year but still $10.6 million short of what the state's own funding formula says the district deserves.

In a presentation Monday night, Financial Operations Director Dale Burnidge told school board members the state has paid only 89 percent of the total aid calculation last year and this year. Transportation funding is also down. In 2010, Burnidge said the district was reimbursed for 80 percent of its transportation expenses. In 2013 it was down to 31 percent.

"We have been able to reduce some of our expenditures in that fund, but that reduces the reimbursement," Burnidge said.

The district will get $32.4 million this year from the federal level -- $1 million less than it got last year. Those cuts are a reality of federal sequestration, the automatic funding cuts that came from the partisan budget standoff in Congress earlier this year.

Salary costs are up, as are health care costs because of high claims last year, Burnidge said.

The entire budget will be on display at www.u-46.org for 30 days, starting Tuesday. It can be found in the finance section under the District Information tab on the U-46 homepage.

The community is invited to participate in a public hearing about the budget Sept. 16 and the board is expected to take a final vote on Sept. 23.

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