The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 18, 2012

River Bend School District battles deficit

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

FULTON, Ill. — River Bend School Board members felt uneasy with the 2013 proposed budget discussed and approved on Monday.

The budget is comprised of 9,098,940 in revenue and $9,864,093 in expenses, leaving a deficit of -$765,153.

“We can’t continue on this path,” Board Vice President Jane Orman-Luker said. “We must be extra careful in the next year.”

The education fund accounted for a majority of the budget with $6,759,798 in revenue and $7,028,250 in expenses, leaving a -$268,452 deficit. Personnel costs typically make up 82-84 percent of the costs, according to Superintendent Chuck Holliday. For the 2013 fiscal year, costs were slightly higher, leaving a significant dent in the budget.

“That’s just our reality,” Holliday said. “There is not a lot we can do about that. A significant amount of elementary and middle school teachers moved up in the salary scale.”

With several projects on the ground running, the health and life safety fund left the largest deficit of the eight funds that make up the budget. Health and life safety brought in $53,655 and cost the district $375,000, leaving a $321,345 deficit. Projects include new toilets and bathroom partitions at Fulton High School, new sidewalks and an outdoor playground at Fulton Elementary School and putting in a new parking lot at Fulton High School.

All of the funds, except for the transportation and tort funds, were negative. Other funds include building, bond and interest, IMRF and working cash. Despite the deficits, the district has done a good job, according to Holliday.

“I appreciate our building and grounds committee,” Holliday said. “We have made good well-informed decisions.”

While the board plans to continue to even out the budget in the future, the odds may not be in their favor.

“The revenue has been down the last couple years,” Holliday said. “The trends aren’t looking good as personnel costs grow.”

Other actions:

• Board approved district fire alarm monitoring and maintenance contract agreements with Simplex for annual testing, inspection and certification.

• Board approved an application for recognition, an annual duty.

• Board approved snow removal bid.

• Board approved bid for parking lot at Fulton High School for excavation and paving.

• Board approved serious safety hazard finding application for 14th Avenue.