by Madison Heninger | September 11, 2019 12:53 pm
On Tuesday, September 10, the Riverside Brookfield High School budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was officially approved by the District 208 Board of Education. The current budget deficit is projected to be about $400,000 in expenditures, which has decreased significantly from the initial projection of $650,000. The cause of the dramatic drop of the deficit was a result of information released on August 5 from the state of Illinois declaring that RB would receive more revenue from the state than initially expected.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Skinkis and Assistant Superintendent of Operations Kristin Smetana have been collaborating since June to calculate the budget and make estimates for the school year.
According to Skinkis and Smetana, the process of creating a budget involves several complexities, considering that it requires a lot of educated guesses. There is a wide level of uncertainty when it comes to RB’s annual revenue income from the state of Illinois. The previous school year’s budget data is reviewed as well as 3-year historicals to calculate an average amount to be spent. A system of budgeting is strategically used as a result of the uncertainty.
“Our philosophy has always been to budget low on revenue and high on expenditures to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Luckily, for the last several years we have finished better than what we have budgeted for,” said Skinkis.
Budgeting in this manner avoids risk and helps to ensure that that RB will have enough overall revenue to function at a high level. For the past three years, RB has ended with a surplus despite the underlying deficit projected. This is a product of the meticulous budget planning done by Skinkis and Smetana.
“We have tried very hard to eliminate costs that were unnecessary but still provide a quality of service and the supplies that the staff and students need,” said Smetana.
Deficit spending is a typical area of budgeting. Personnel, benefits, and out-of-district tuition all contribute to a rise in expenditures. Similarly, the school’s income relies heavily on revenue from the state but also has several other working factors. Collection of tax dollars and returns on investments are added into the total.
“A budget is an umbrella that the school tries to operate under and maintain responsibility. We should always try to stay within our budget, but it’s very important that we provide excellent service to our students,” said Skinkis.
The finance advisory council consists of two board members, William Smithing and Deanna Zalas. They have met with the administration twice prior to this week’s Board of Education meeting on September 10 to review the tentative budget and receive feedback in order to revise the budget into a final draft.
The budget for this fiscal year starting on July 1, 2019 has been authorized. A numerical run-down of the budget is available to read on the RB website.
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