Summary of Homer School District 33C
Finance and Operations Committee Meeting
January 20, 2016
District 33C School Board:
Meeting Summary Report
Homer School Board
Barb Wilson, President
Angela Adolf, Vice President
Amy Blank, Secretary
Ed Campins, Member
Elizabeth Hitzeman, Member
Debra Martin, Member
Russ Petrizzo, Member
Tim Rutter, member
John Reiniche, Assistant Superintendent for Business, presented the following to Committee members Angela Adolf and Russ Petrizzo:
- A month-by-month look at the District’s Cash Flow and Fund Balances for the past five years. The high point was $43.6 million in September, 2013. Today, the District’s fund balance is around $14 million. The steady decline over the past five years is attributed to cutbacks in state aid as well as loan payments related to the construction of Young School and improvements at Schilling School. The loan is scheduled to be paid off this fiscal year. Administrators anticipated the reduction in fund balances (even though expenses have remained steady), calling it “deficit by design.” In May — just after the May 15th payroll and before the State of Illinois releases its second tax installment — the District is expected to reach a low point of $2.5 million in its fund balance. If the tax installment is received, the District’s fund balance is expected to rebound to $6.7 million on May 30th and $18.8 million in June. If the State of Illinois does not make payment, the District may need to issue Tax Anticipation Warrants (TAWs) to meet its May 15th payroll obligation. Reiniche is optimistic this won’t happen. The possibility of having to issue TAWs led to the discussion of what is the “right” fund balance for school districts to possess. Committee members indicated they would like to see at least 50 percent ($7.5 million) — a conservative fund balance that would give the District about two months of reserves to meet financial obligations at a time of low points in the cycle of tax payments. The committee plans to take the discussion to the full Board.
- An update on the District’s work with PMA to create a five-year financial forecast. The forecast will project various scenarios, including changes in the State’s funding formula and a shift in pension costs. Recently, the Illinois State Board of Education proposed a new formula for funding lower poverty schools. The proposal calls for an elimination in funding for children requiring special education services (formally known as Sp Ed extraordinary) and rolling those dollars into General State Aid. If that happens, Homer 33C stands to lose more than $237,000 next school year.
- A plan to meet with building principals to develop a five-year plan for facility repairs and maintenance. The Business Office and Buildings and Grounds Office also plan to audit custodial supplies to see if efficiencies can be created.
- An update on the exploration of food service options. The District will survey parents, students and staff to see what they would like to see served in the schools and whether they would support healthier options.
- A discussion regarding the frequency and format of financial reports. Reiniche will create a monthly dashboard for the Board, showing where the District stands in terms of revenues and expenditures. The dashboard will serve as a barometer for the District, indicating (through charts and graphs) whether revenues and expenditures are in line with previous years.
- A discussion clarifying the Board’s request for information regarding student activity accounts. The Board has asked for a report on how much money is allocated for each before-school and after-school extracurricular activity, such as stipends and travel, and how much the District charges for participation. The goal is to make sure each extracurricular activity is treated equitably and relates to the District’s Future Ready initiative. Dr. Coglianese suggested a committee be formed to evaluate the numbers.
The Next Regular School Board Meeting is January 26, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.