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District 87 Seeks Budget Shift To Cover Late Year Expenses

District 87 sign outside Bloomington Junior High School.
Eric Stock
District 87's school board is expected to set a June 12 public hearing for a budget amendment.

District 87 plans to alter its budget to cover short-term expenses that the district expects to soon recoup and to provide additional cash flexibility.
The school board is expected Wednesday to set a June 12 public hearing and vote for the budget amendment to build an additional $650,000 into the current spending plan.

The district is seeking to repair damage caused by a lighting strike at the Bloomington High School chiller plant.

District 87 Chief Financial and Facilities Officer Colin Manahan said the district is seeking a $100,000 insurance claim that might not come until after the budget year ends.

He said the district is seeking to build in $300,000 for operations and maintenance to account for that expense as well as others that could arise after a rough winter.

“The winter months were more of a challenge this year than in prior winters,” Manahan said. “We had a lot of snow and ice removal. We can’t necessarily plan for that. We don’t know what mother nature is going to do.”

District 87 is also looking to build an additional $300,000 in its education fund, in part, to cover a $211,000 federal grant that might not come in until the next budget year.

The Title I school improvement grant is intended to fund professional development and additional materials at Bloomington Junior High and Irving, Sheridan and Stevenson elementary schools.

The budget amendment would also set aside an additional $50,000 for flexibility in its retirement funds, though Manahan added the district doesn’t anticipate spending the additional money this year.

Manahan said budget constraints of recent years have caused the district to budget more conservatively.

“We try to build a little bit of cushion in between revenues versus expenditures because of the way the revenue stream and expenditures have been going the last three, four years,” he said. “We’ve lost that cushion.”

The District 87 school board approved a budget in September which included a $2.6 million operational deficit, and the district has had to tap into cash reserves in recent years to cover shortfalls.

The district’s fund balances would drop below $31 million with the budget change. That’s a drop of close to $12.8 million over the last year.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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