After outages canceled classes last year, Wauconda schools budget includes backup plan

  • Wauconda Unit School District 118 officials have installed a backup generator for their computer networks to prevent disruptive power outages at Wauconda High, shown here, and other campuses. Outages forced the district to cancel classes for two days last year.

      Wauconda Unit School District 118 officials have installed a backup generator for their computer networks to prevent disruptive power outages at Wauconda High, shown here, and other campuses. Outages forced the district to cancel classes for two days last year. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer, 2018

 
 
Updated 9/3/2019 2:30 PM

Wauconda Unit School District 118 officials have installed a backup generator for their computer networks to ensure power outages like the ones that twice forced classes to be canceled last year aren't so disruptive.

Funding for the generator is in the proposed $76.5 million budget for the 2020 fiscal year, said Bill Harkin, the district's associate superintendent of business services. The cost wasn't immediately available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The District 118 board will review the proposed budget Thursday night during a committee-of-the-whole meeting set for 7 p.m. at Wauconda High School, 555 N. Main St.

The budget calls for spending to increase less than 2% from the previous fiscal year's $75.3 million plan. The 2020 fiscal year began July 1.

Harkin cited the generator's purchase and installation as a key project.

Classes were canceled at all six District 118 campuses for a day in August 2018 after a main electrical transformer at Wauconda High School became overheated and failed.

A day of classes were canceled the next month after the main electrical line running to Wauconda High failed. Both malfunctions affected districtwide computer and phone systems.

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In addition to the generator, the proposed budget includes money for the recent creation of a lab for science, technology, engineering and math programs at Wauconda High,

The lab offers "many new and exciting (and) large pieces of equipment for the students to use and learn about," Harkin said. The space formerly held an industrial arts lab, he said.

Money for recent upgrades to the intercom, clock and bell system at the high school is in the budget, too.

Both projects were completed this summer. Cost estimates weren't available.

Officials predict they'll collect nearly $75.2 million in revenue from property taxes, fees and other sources during the new fiscal year. That's up about 2% from the roughly $73.7 million total in the previous year's plan.

The estimated $1.4 million gap between projected expenses and revenue will be covered by savings, Harkin said.

Harkin expects the school board to approve the budget Sept. 19.

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