Falling revenue and incomplete funding from the state hurt Saratoga Elementary Dist. 60C during the past school year, prompting amendments to the 2012-13 budget, which were presented Monday night.
The district brought in $60,010 more than it spent overall, according to the budget report, but saw a $109,519 deficit in the Education Fund.
According to Superin-tendent Kathy Perry, that is the most troubling aspect of the budget.
“That’s the most significant thing,” Perry said. It is the fund that pays teacher salaries and affects the classroom the most.”
Declining property tax revenues and a financially-strapped state are the reason for the disappointing numbers, Perry said.
It is the first time the district has operated with a deficit since 2003, Perry emphasized.
Perry said she makes budget projections five years in advance, and the board has cut spending in anticipation of the issue.
“It’s not a spending problem,” Perry explained. “It’s a revenue problem.”
The revenue problem carries over into the tentative 2013-14 budget, which the board approved Monday.
The Education Fund deficit is expected to continue, and a deficit is projected for the overall budget.
The board also discussed the proposed countywide sales tax increase proponents say would provide revenue for schools, while easing the tax burden on property owners.
The additional 1 percent sales tax, which was introduced at an informational meeting for Grundy County school boards in May, would be applied to items currently taxed and could be spent on facility-related expenditures.
To get the measure on the ballot in March, school boards representing more than 50 percent of the students in the county would, by the end of the year, have to pass a resolution supporting it.
The board members present at Monday’s meeting seemed to support the plan, with Perry calling it a “great opportunity to ease the tax burden.”
If enacted, Perry said, it could help the district construct a new cafeteria without relying on property taxes.
“We need a cafeteria very badly,” Perry said. “I think this would be an opportunity to do that.”
Perry said the sales tax will be discussed at the next Grundy County Co-Op meeting.