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Budget, mobile issues set for District U-46 vote


By Seth Hancock
  The Board of Education in School District U-46 is set to vote on a budgetary resolution as well as a resolution concerning mobile classrooms at its upcoming meeting on Monday, July 15. The items were presented on June 17.
  Included is a resolution to display and set the public hearing date for the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. That budget is expected to be presented to the board on Aug. 12 while going on public display on Aug. 13, a public hearing is scheduled for Sept. 9 and a final board vote is planned for Sept. 23.
  The tentative budget was presented to the board that evening showing expenditures at $579.7 million, up 3.9 percent or $21.6 million from $558.1 million, and revenue at $581 million, up 3.6 percent or $19.9 million from $561.1 million. That’s larger than the $559.1 million ($1 million increase) in expenditures and $564.3 million ($3.2 million increase) in revenue that was projected for FY2020 in the district’s FY2019 budget.
  The FY2019 budget also projects continued enrollment declines, but U-46 is planning to add more staff despite the declining population as Dale Burnidge, director of financial operations, said the district “estimated an increase in about 54 new teaching positions.”
  In the 2018-2019 school year, enrollment declined for the fourth straight year dropping by 633 students to 38,572. U-46 has lost 1,915 total students since 2014’s enrollment of 40,487 but spending has increased nearly $100 million during that time which is over $70 million faster than the rate of inflation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.
  Using the FY2019 budget projections and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) numbers, if the district’s forecasts are realized there will have been a 13.1 percent drop in enrollment from 2012 to the 2021-22 school year while costs are expected to rise by 36.3 percent over the same period.
  Also to be voted on is a resolution declaring the need to continue using temporary classrooms, or mobile units. U-46 plans on using eight double units and five single units housing 21 total classrooms, and they are expected to be used at nine schools.
  The district plans on using two double units at both South Elgin High School and Elgin’s Century Oaks Elementary School, and a single and double unit at both Elgin’s Hillcrest and Lowrie elementary schools. One double unit is planned to be used at both Streamwood’s Hanover Countryside and Hoffman Estate’s Lincoln elementary schools and a single unit is planned at Elgin’s Creekside, Harriet Gifford and Washington elementary schools.

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