D159 Whittles Away at Deficit

Mokena District 159 has made progress on inching closer to the black—but still has a ways to go.

is inching closer to being in the black, after frugal spending within the District in 2012. The district posted a $110,000 deficit—a significant improvement on the $1 million deficit in the previous fiscal year.

District Superintendent Steve Stein said several factors contributed to the shrinking deficit, including:

  • health care costs that were lower than expected
  • a salary freeze for teachers (which they agreed to)
  • saving $111,000 of $160,000 set aside from contingency fund

“We did solve our issues with the teacher's contract and the teachers did agree to a freeze, that certainly was a big part of helping to put us on that path,” Stein said, adding, “I think there was still a ratcheting down by staff, at all levels, to not spend money. I think there are a number of things that go into [the lower deficit.]”

He also added that unlike in previous years, there was no intrafund transferring in 2012, stating that “if a line item went in the red, it stayed in the red.

“That was done purposefully,” Stein said. “I think it will ultimately allow us to track and plan our budgets in the future.”

Though the year looks to be a solid one for the District, he said that the board was reviewing an unaudited version of the final budget. The audit is set to begin on July 30.

Further discussion of the 2013 budget raised eyebrows among board members, as the projected deficit is estimated at $400,000. Stein cautioned that the budget was “preliminary,” and that several line items could change.

Projected spending in transportation costs, which is preliminarily budgeted at more than $110,000 more than the previous year despite lowered enrollment, and technology supplies and equipment, which is projected at a total of $115,800, drew particular interest from the board. Technology spending for the previous year was $39,468.

“I see money here for wireless computers, while we're still charging kids a lot of money to be put on the bus,” said . “I think there's an awful lot of thought that needs to be put into this, in terms of wants versus needs.”

Also among the expected increased expenditures was a more than $20,000 raise—from $79,550 to $100,000—for the vacant business manager position.

“It's just a placeholder right now,” Stein said of the business manager's projected salary.

The Board of Education will again discuss the budget for FY2013 at its next meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 1. The budget will be approved after further discussion in September.


Want more District 159 news? We know where to find it!

patrick markham July 27, 2012 at 06:04 PM
LOL Carole, thank you, i will do my best to simply represent people, being elected does NOT mean someone is smartest kid in class. It Does mean , represent people, etc..... ANYTIME cup o joe, well ... LOL almost anytime. my personal email is: pmarkham 1@yahoo.com If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking
C. Martinez July 29, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Dear Mr. Markham, I would like to know why the purported 2% projected increase for district administration is not 2%. My calculations show only two people getting a 2% raise: the Director of Building and Grounds and Director of Technology. While the Director of Business Operations show a projected 25.71% increase and the Director of Student Services is getting a 66.67% increase. The numbers and percentages don't align with what's being reported. I would like to know what's going on. If there is extra money, shouldn't this money be used back into school programs or updating our bullying policies or just save it? I would like more explanation regarding the administration raises. Can you please explain so that I may better understand why this is happen the way it is? I will try to attach a photo of the calculations in this news thread, Can you please review and explain why some of the positions are getting an exorbitant increase? Please advise. Thank you.
C. Martinez August 01, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Please come out to the school board meeting tonight. Let's get involved, participate and do what's best for our kids. Tonight (Wednesday) 7:00PM MES BAND ROOM. See you there! Unity in community! Come out parents and community members of Mokena!
carole August 01, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Can the school board meeting be covered by cable? It may be too late today but what about in the future?
C. Martinez August 01, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Something we can bring up tonight at the board meeting. Please come out tonight to the board meeting.


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