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Committee will examine budget scenarios for 60C

Panel includes teachers, member of the public

The Board of Education at Saratoga Community Consolidated School District 60C approved its budget for the 2012-2013 school year last week.

The district is starting its year with a total of about $4.7 million in all funds. By the end of the year, the board expects the district’s reserves to drop to about $4.5 million.

“We are, thank goodness, going into this in pretty healthy shape,” said District Superintendent Kathy Perry.

The education fund balance is currently about $2.4 million. The projected fund balance at the end of the year is about $2.3 million.

“We’re being proactive and going into this with our eyes wide open,” Perry said.

To prepare the district and community for the years to come, Perry has organized a new budget committee to go over and understand the budget. The committee met for the first time Monday night.

“The purpose of the committee is to understand the budget,” Perry said.

The members will also develop options and strategies for various future scenarios ranging from best-case scenarios — new development in the area — to worst-case scenarios — tax bases continue to decline.

The committee is made up of three teachers, one principal, four parents, one board member and the superintendent.

“Considering the seriousness of the situations with tax bases dropping, I think it’s important for everyone to have some input into this and to understand it,” the superintendent said.

Perry spent the first meeting explaining and describing the school district budget and its various facets including the property tax levy, Tax Increment Finance District revenue and surplus, general state aid and more.

“I thought the first meeting went very well,” Perry said. “They asked a lot of very good questions.”

Each year, Perry puts together a five-year projection. She is anticipating a 7 percent tax base drop next year from preliminary numbers given by Grundy County Supervisor of Assessment Dave Henderson.

The Budget Committee will meet again Monday evening to go into more detail about Saratoga’s budget. Eventually the committee will propose options and strategies to the full board.

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