District 211 projects help create $23.5 million deficit

Updated 8/15/2014 5:20 AM
  • Swimming pool renovations are contributing to the costs in the next Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 budget.

      Swimming pool renovations are contributing to the costs in the next Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 budget. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 Thursday presented a tentative yearly budget with a $23.5 million deficit overall due to pending capital projects, but a $6.7 million surplus in the operating funds required by law to be balanced.

Superintendent Daniel Cates said the district's dipping into its reserves to this extent is caused by major renovations of its swimming pools and the front office of Conant High School; an update and enhancement of the media center; and upgrades to the former Barrington Orthopedic office building in Hoffman Estates where the district hopes to relocate its Adult Transition Program for graduates with mild and moderate cognitive impairments.

Other factors include the continued reduction of the district's debt service levy, completion of approved life safety projects, and lease payments for iPads. The deficit also assumes the use of all $1 million of the budget's contingency funds, though historically this has never happened.

Nevertheless, the intensive capital projects of the near future represent a very specific period of time that has been well prepared for by the district's prudent financial planning, Cates said.

While administrators have been wrestling year-round with such financial factors as reductions in state and federal funding, the goal is to adapt sufficiently so students and their families do not feel the impact of these factors, Cates said. And he believes District 211 has successfully attained that goal.

Total revenue for the year ahead is budgeted at $240.8 million, a decrease of 1.4 percent from what was actually received last year. Costs are anticipated to be $264.3 million, which is $13.6 million or 5.4 percent more than what was actually spent last year.

The presentation to the school board Thursday began a 30-day period for public review that will end with a public hearing and the final budget's scheduled approval Sept. 18.

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