Lincoln-Way Board of Education Works to Improve Budget Deficit
Friday, July 17, 2015

At the Lincoln-Way Board of Education meeting on July 16, the Board heard a close-out report of the districts Fiscal Year 2015 budget and a Fiscal Year 2016 budget presentation that projected a $5.5 million deficit. The Board of Education also made progress on its deficit reduction planning required as a result of being placed on the Illinois State Board of Educations Financial Watch List.

The districts revenue for FY2015 was $99.6 million and its expenditures came in at $105.2 million a reduction of $3 million from Fiscal Year 2014. During Fiscal Year 2015, the district took proactive steps to pay outstanding bills and reduced the number of days in which vendors are paid from 90 to 45 days.

Lincoln-Way has maintained one of the lowest per pupil expenditures in the area and consistently spends well below the state average.

Over the years, the district has made numerous reductions and taken every step possible to get Lincoln-Way back on a path toward fiscal health, said Superintendent R. Scott Tingley. Unfortunately, we are at a point now where we are borrowing over 26 million dollars and we cannot continue to operate half of the school year on borrowed money.

Also during the meeting, the Board voted 7-0 to eliminate two of the deficit reduction plans previously considered, including cutting a class/extracurricular opportunities and the option of a tax referendum.

We have heard from parents, students and community members that we must do everything possible to protect the outstanding educational and extracurricular opportunities for Lincoln-Way students today and in the future, said Board President Kevin Molloy. Thats why it was important we assure the community that cutting opportunities for students is off the table.

With two options off the table, the Board is now focused on considering various school closure scenarios.

Tingley presented the Board with two sets of school closure options one that keeps feeder junior high schools together and one that draws new boundaries based on roads and major transportation lines.

When we transitioned from two to four high schools, we worked very hard to ensure that academic and extracurricular opportunities were the same at all four high schools, Tingley said. Moving forward, we will continue to ensure that a Lincoln-Way education is a Lincoln-Way education.

We have outstanding kids, outstanding teachers and outstanding schools, Tingley said. We will work together to do whats best for all members of the Lincoln-Way community.

The Board of Education will further examine its school closure options during its meetings in August.

The Fiscal Year 2016 budget will be on public display for 30 days. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 7:00 pm. on September 9, 2015.

The final budget will be voted on by the Board of Education at the September 10 board meeting and submitted to the state, along with the deficit reduction plan.