Dist. 205 Could Face $8.5 Million Deficit for FY 2014

By: Lauren Kravets
By: Lauren Kravets

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After seeing a $24 million dollar surplus last year, finances in District 205 aren't looking as good when it comes to next year's budget; there's currently a projected $8.5 million dollar deficit.

A first draft of the fiscal year 2014 budget shows an $8.5 million deficit. On paper it looks like a $21 million deficit, this is why:

$12 million of that $21 million can only be used for construction projects, that money cannot be spent in other areas. The district is also seeing a four million dollar state cut for transportation.

Although, state revenue projections are just an estimate at this point. Since there's an increase in enrollment, the district could get more revenue. Also, the district reduced the tax levy for taxpayers. The district says all of these reasons have contributed the deficit.

Despite those obstacles administrators say this is actually one of the better projections.

"This will be the fifth budget that I've built for District 205 and this is the best Draft 1 budget document that I've ever presented," said Chief Financial Officer Cedric Lewis.

About a year and a half ago the district initially presented a $50-million deficit just to be safe. But Lewis says he's confident they will balance the FY 2014 budget within the next six months, before the school board has to approve the final budget in June.

At school board tonight, board members approved a contract with Hagney Architects for about $2.3 million, to help with projects under the district's ten-year facilities plan.

Even though it was a unanimous vote, some board members said they'd like to see a smoother process in the future. This time around they had to ask a lot of questions on their own time and they got last minute notification of contract changes.

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