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Morris high school approves fiscal budget

MORRIS – The Morris Community High School District 101 Board approved this week the amended budget for fiscal 2014 with slight decreases in revenues and expenses for the Education Fund.

The school board approved, 4-0, the amended budget at its Monday meeting, with board member Steve Stangland abstaining and members Dennis Best and Thomas Anderson absent, Superintendent Pat Halloran said Tuesday.

During the school board meeting, the board heard updates from Halloran on where the budget stands.

The Education Fund expenditures are less than anticipated. The revenue, while less than expected, isn’t as bad as district officials thought it would be.

“The decrease in revenue is not as bad as we anticipated,” Halloran said. “The Corporation Personal Property Replacement Tax [CPPRT] we received was more than we thought.”

He said the district just underestimated what it would be receiving from CPPRT.

He said legal expenses were up this year and cited the fees concerning the Midwest Generation settlement as an example of why they were higher. But the overall expenditures in the Education Fund showed a decrease of $117,585.

The Midwest Generation settlement concluded a 13-year lawsuit between it and numerous local taxing bodies, and basically freed all parties of any charges and allowed all parties to walk away. The district saw a $29,868 increase in legal fees.

When it came to revenue there was a $22,192 total decrease in revenue for the high school’s Education Fund because of decreases in general state aid; categorical payments, which are state payments made to school districts base on specific categories, decreased by $88,934.

However, there was an expected increase in revenue of $59,969 from the local levy, tax increment financing surplus funds and CPPRT, as well as a $6,773 increase from title grants.

In total, the original revenues for the Education Fund were predicted at $7,779,280 and are amended at $7,757,088. 

In total, the original expenditures for the Education Fund were predicted at $10,033,870 and are amended at $9,916285. 

The estimated ending cash balance on hand in the Education Fund is $1,798,363.

The district has a nearly $2.3 million deficit in the Education Fund. Operating this fund on a deficit has been standard for the district in recent years since Midwest Generation closed and the district lost 35 percent of its EAV in 2004. It then began issuing working cash bonds to operate. 

Halloran also pointed out the savings the district has seen in transportation by sharing bus service with the other Morris school districts. Morris high school could see $80,000 in savings this year through the shared service.

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