Computers, new classrooms part of District 118 spending
Wauconda Unit School District 118's new $67.6 million budget includes funding for a recently completed classroom addition at one school, laptop computers for some elementary students and new textbooks in several subjects.
The school board unanimously approved the spending plan Thursday night after a public hearing at Wauconda High School. The fiscal year for the six-school district began July 1.
One of the biggest projects in the budget is the already completed addition of 4½ modular classrooms at Robert Crown School.
Officials say these rooms are much better than the portable trailers used to relieve classroom crowding in previous generations.
"These are actually attached to (a) corridor that we constructed from the building," said Bill Harkin, the district's associate superintendent for business services. "They are quite nice."
Other capital projects in the budget include a new dance room at Wauconda High and new intercom systems at Crown and Cotton Creek schools.
In all, the spending plan includes about $1.5 million for construction.
As for the laptop computers, Chromebooks soon will be purchased for all first- and second-graders at Crown and Cotton Creek schools. The students will have them this fall.
The first- and second-graders at Wauconda Grade School received Chromebooks last year through a federal financial aid program, Harkin said.
All freshmen at Wauconda High School were assigned Chromebooks for the first time when school started last month, too.
The computer purchases and other technology upgrades are expected to cost $600,000, Harkin said.
Officials also expect to spend $848,000 on new textbooks and software for many science and math classes throughout the district, as well as books covering other subjects.
The budget is about $4.6 million greater than the plan for the 2016 fiscal year. That's an increase of more than 7 percent.
Officials attributed the jump to the computer purchases, the construction project at Crown, staff hirings and other expenditures.
The budget predicts the district will collect about $66.8 million in property taxes, fees and other revenue during the year.
That's up about $4.4 million, or 7 percent.
The projected difference between expenses and revenue will be made up with savings, Harkin said.