Bleak Financial Outlook Prompts Teutopolis Schools to Seek Public Input


Published on October 29 2012 10:29 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Wayne Moran

In the face of funding cuts, Teutopolis Unit 50 school district is seeking input from the community about budget reductions, in the form of a survey.

From the survery:

The Unit #50 Board of Education recently approved the 2012-2013 budget with a deficit of $1,177,711. This deficit is something the district knows can not be sustained. As a matter of fact, unless major cuts are made or major revenues are found, budget projections show that the district will have less than one year of reserves left in the Education Fund at the end of the current fiscal year. The deficit is the result of decreases in revenue from the state (due to decreases in the General State Aid and dropping enrollment in Unit #50). Last year the state only paid 95 % of the State Aid Unit #50 should have received, resulting in a loss of $209,186. This school year, Unit #50 was told to expect only 89% of our General State Aid, which is a loss of $421,486.

Additionally, when enrollment drops, so does State Aid, and Unit #50 has experienced dropping enrollment for many years. The final factor negatively impacting our State Aid is that our Equalized Assessed Value (Property Value) continues to rise. For every $1,000,000 the EAV rises, General State Aid drops around $30,000. It is important to realize that the school district does not control property values in any way. While the overall tax rate is higher, the district currently levies taxes at a rate of $1.84 for each $100 of assessed value of property for our Education Fund. This is the maximum tax rate allowed by law, without a referendum of the voters, for the Education Fund.

Nearly all salaries come from the Education Fund. The district's salaries are about $7,000,000 per year. Unit #50 has tried, for the past several years, to cut costs by not replacing retiring teachers and support personnel when possible. Since our outlying schools were closed just over five years ago, we have about thirty fewer employees in the district.

Compounding the General State Aid problem is that last year Unit 50 received a proration in Transportation funds of 74%. This reduced what we should have received from the state by $86,608. This year we have been told to expect Transportation to be prorated at 75%. The Board of Education has directed the Superintendent to find $1,000,000 in potential cuts or possible revenue to close the deficit gap.

The Board will then decide whether to make all or any of the cuts or institute all or any of the revenue enhancements.

To be taken directly to the survey, click here. The deadline for completion is November 8th.