Flossmoor School District 161 is ahead of the game when it comes to revenues and expenditures at the halfway point of fiscal year 2021, but how to address facilities needs going forward will be a focus for administrators.
Finance Director Frances LaBella provided a Mid-Year Financial Report Monday, Feb. 22, during District 161’s Board of Education meeting. She also addressed the district’s long-range facility plan.
She noted in the report that with the second installment of the 2019 levy extension in, the district is actually in a slightly better position than it anticipated. Administrators budgeted for $10.01 million in local revenues and has received $10.17 million in taxes to date. But with $538,000 in refunds from the prior year, the district is still essentially in a negative position of roughly $400,000, according to LaBella’s report.
LaBella also said that while that number is still more than $100,000 ahead of what was planned, it is still “just shy of 94%” on collection of the 2019 levy. The board may potentially want to budget for 92% collections going forward to be safe, LaBella said.
When it comes to state revenues, the district budgeted for $10.08 million and has received $6.09 million to date, which LaBella indicated was a “positive trend” across all state sources. Federal revenues were budgeted at $1.93 million, with $1.19 million received to date, which again LaBella cited as a positive trend, as most federal funds are received as reimbursements.
In total, the district has budgeted for $34.41 million in revenues for 2020-2021 and has received $17.24 million to date. LaBella said the first installment of the 2020 levy, due March 1, will be key for the district.
On the expenditures side of things, salaries have been budgeted at $19.52 million, while the actual costs to date have been $9.65 million, with a projection roughly $600,000 better than where the district expected to be. Benefits are “essentially on budget.”
Contractual services are being projected roughly $900,000 better than expected, with only three months of bus service needed, though LaBella noted they also had “lots of snow” with which to deal. And supplies are projected to be roughly $400,000 under budget.
With capital outlay, other objects and non-capital equipment also factored in, total expenditures are projected to be roughly $3 million less than expected, with the original budget calling for $40.16 million and actual to date at $20.32 million.
But as the district continues to plan for the future, LaBella said they will need to examine their use of spaces and necessities for their facilities.
“We need to start looking at things a little differently,” LaBella said. “The buildings are getting old. There are things that are going to need to be upgraded that are not sexy.”
The district’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.
The district also discussed a plan to use E-rate funding to upgrade its entire category 5 wiring infrastructure with category 6 wiring, which a report from Director of Technology Lennard Razor called “more reliable and capable.” The existing wiring is more than 15 years old and becoming less capable of handling the technology District 161 needs, according to Razor’s report.
The estimated project costs are $185,000, including labor and materials. E-rate would cover 55% of the costs ($101,750), meaning the district would spend $83,250.
LaBella also led a brief discussion on the district’s registration and residency plan for 2021. She said COVID-19 forced the district to revamp its process to accommodate electronic registration and residency verifications. Her hope is that District 161 will continue doing it that way going forward.
“What we learned last year is we’re really capable of doing registration remotely and not making people come in,” LaBella said.
The window for incoming kindergarten registration is March 15 through April 16. Students returning to grades 3-6 who live with a resident or have other residency concerns are on a schedule that runs from April 19 through May 24. New students to the district are registered and enrolled as they arrive in the district starting June 8.
More information will be emailed to parents when they are required to register or prove residency, according to LaBella’s report to the board.