By Nick Miller
O’FALLON – The District 203 Board of Education approved the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, totaling $34,596,843 at their monthly meeting on September 20.
The budget does continue the district’s deficit spending, running $1.89 million into the red.
The district projects it will bring in $31,743,300 in direct revenue and the budget accounts for more than $34.5 million in expenditures. While that adds up to a deficit of slightly more than $2.8 million, the district has built in contingency spending, planning for potential unexpected occurrences that may never occur. Those contingencies total $955,000, which is how the district arrives at the final deficit of $1,898,543.
Revenue did increase this year versus last and is attributed to increased funding through the state and a higher EAV in O’Fallon. Expenses also increased, in part due to contractually negotiated salary increases.
“We budget conservatively. We tend to budget a little bit high on the expenditures and a little bit low on the revenues and we built in contingencies to account for the ‘what if’s’ so we know we’re covered,” Superintendent Darcy Benway explained.
Benway stated that a portion of the deficit is planned.
“We’ve been saving money over the years in our Health, Life, Safety Fund so we can do a bunch of HLS projects. We’ve been saving, stockpiling money to do these projects and now its time to spend. We’re not getting as much revenue in because we have been getting it in over several years so we can now spend that money,” Benway explained.
The board has previously discussed using Health, Life, Safety Funds to increase security measures at the two campuses.
Benway said the district does have the reserves needed to cover the deficit, with cash reserves estimated to be at around $15,562,057 at the end of June, 2019.
The board voted unanimously to approve the budget. Board President Lynda Cozad participated in the meeting by speakerphone.
Benway’s presentation and the Fiscal Year 2019 budget are both available to view on the district’s website, www.oths.us.