Dist. 200 approves budget, welcomes superintendent
Community, educators also welcome new superintendent
The Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 board of education unanimously adopted a nearly $183.7 million budget for the 2014-15 school year Wednesday during a meeting that was led, for the first time, by the district's new superintendent, Jeffrey Schuler.
Total revenues amount to about $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 district moved money out of the operations and maintenance fund to the education fund so all the operating funds would be balanced.
"The budget, in the operating total, never was in a deficit, but we had funds that had deficit spending," he said.
The shortfall in the total budget -- which includes the operating funds and the district's bond and interest fund and capital projects fund -- is tied to the construction projects that were completed at 18 buildings this summer, with $9.8 million of bond proceeds collected in fiscal 2013-14, Farley said.
The budget includes staff reductions accomplished mostly through attrition, a decrease in professional development spending and limits on technology purchases and updates.
Gary Tonn of Wheaton was the only resident to speak at the meeting. He thanked board members Jim Mathieson and Jim Gambaiani, who was absent, for their comments regarding the budget in recent meetings. In addition, he raised some questions of his own about various parts of the budget and the district's level of instructional spending.
"Where we find federal and state rules and regulations making education more expensive and ineffective, I want to see us lead the fight to change the system and not use it as an excuse," he added.
Before the meeting, dozens of educators, public officials and residents attended a welcome reception for Schuler.
"Since I joined District 200 officially, I have had just an unbelievable welcome from staff, from the community," he said, adding that he has already spent about two hours at all 20 of the district's schools since starting Sept. 2. "It really has been just a tremendous welcome to the district."