SD 161 projects $1.7M deficit
BY GINGER BRASHINGER For The Herald-News May 14, 2012 8:58PM
Updated: May 29, 2012 1:36PM
FRANKFORT — Staff cuts, fee increases and a higher-than-expected payment of money owed by the state have combined to give Summit Hill School District a bit of good financial news.
The district still has a long way to go, but its projected budget deficit for next school year is $1.7 million, down from the $2.1 million deficit it has struggled with this year, outgoing finance director Dean Gerdes said.
Gerdes said the district also received a $355,000 refund from Lincoln-Way Area Special Education District, which he called a “one-time event.”
“We’ve made a significant dent in that (budget deficit) number in the months since you’ve approved the budget in the fall,” Gerdes told school board members at last week’s meeting.
Board President Mary Kenny said while the reduction is welcome news, the district will continue to look at ways to reduce the deficit.
“We have really pulled in our belts all year as soon as we found out what was going on (financially),” Kenny said. “We are cutting immensely on waste.”
Over the last four months, the board approved closing Mary Drew School, cutting 23 teacher positions and freezing salaries for administrators and building aides for next year. Fees were raised for extracurricular activities, but Kenny said registration fees will remain the same.
Kenny said although the board will “bide our time and see what our finances look like” before considering another school closing, further cuts may include reducing kindergarten to a half-day, which would save the district $500,000 to $600,000, she said.
“We’ll have to look at where our registration is,” Kenny said. “There’s always things you’re looking at.”
A public hearing on the proposed amended budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 23 at the administration office, 20100 S. Spruce Drive in Frankfort Square.
With Gerdes taking a position with Evergreen Park School District, the board also approved the hiring of Susan Krautstrunk as director of finance and transportation. She has 18 months of experience as finance director in Plainfield School District.
Bridget Nolan was hired as director of special services. She has been a special-education administrator for 10 years.