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updated: 7/15/2014 5:21 PM

Dist. 200 proposed budget available for viewing

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Creating the 2014-15 budget for Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 proved to be an "arduous process" this year, officials say.

The nearly $183.7 million proposed budget is available for viewing at the school service center, local libraries and online at cusd200.org.

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Total revenues amount to $174.5 million, leaving a nearly $9.2 million anticipated deficit, but operating funds are in the black with nearly $156.9 million in revenues over about $156.4 million in expenditures, officials said.

Bill Farley, assistant superintendent for business operations, said the shortfall in the total budget -- which includes the district's bond and interest fund and capital projects fund -- is tied to the construction projects being completed at 18 buildings this summer with $9.8 million of bond proceeds that were collected in fiscal 2013-14.

The need for budget cuts, he added, is due to the consumer price index being set at 1.5 percent, which is significantly lower than the district projected based off historical averages. The CPI limits the amount of money the district can take through the property tax levy.

The proposed budget includes staff reductions accomplished mostly through attrition, a decrease in professional development spending, and limits on technology purchases and updates.

Capital outlay, which refers to computers, audio and visual equipment and other pieces of technology and equipment, has been reduced by 30 percent in the education fund and by 18 percent in the operation and maintenance fund.

In the education fund, about $132.7 million is dedicated to salaries and benefits, representing a 1.6 percent increase from last year. Transportation fund money going toward salaries and benefits, however, is decreasing by about 23 percent.

Overall, salaries and benefits account for roughly 67 percent of total expenditures.

Local funding provides for 86 percent of all revenue, while state funding makes up 10 percent and federal funding accounts for 4 percent.

Board member Rosemary Swanson said the district is not scaling back what it is already doing, but instead what it had hoped to increase doing.

"That's still not a good thing," she said. "Clearly we still need to move forward and the more slowly you move forward the more chance you're behind other people."

Interim Superintendent Faith Dahlquist said district staff will present the board with ideas of alternative ways to gain revenue at the next board meeting.

A public hearing on the proposed budget also will be held at the meeting, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, at the school service center. Final approval by the board is expected on Sept. 10.

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