Jul 26, 2014

Budget Update: Crucial Time for Woodridge Local Schools

From pay-to-participate fees and layoffs to levy proposals and spending freezes, Woodridge Local School officials and the Board of Education have much to consider in the months ahead.

Budget Update: Crucial Time for Woodridge Local Schools

Decisions, decisions.

Following the failure of , the will soon make some rulings on how to balance the district's beleagured $20 million annual budget.

The first decision will come at its next regular meeting on April 17 when the board will have to decide whether or not to institute a pay-to-participate policy. 

As it stands, it costs the district $410,000 per year to fund the district's athletic, extracurricular, music and club programs, and its the aim of school officials to "defray" the six-figure price tag, said Woodridge Schools Superintendent Walter Davis.

To figure out the best pay system, a pay-to-participate committee, chaired by treasurer Deanna Levenger, was formed last month and it has offered its recommendations for the board to consider.

High school athletics and clubs

  • Between $125-$150 per sport, per student
  • $25 per club, per student
  • Annual earnings projection: $46,000-$54,000

Middle school athletics and clubs

  • Between $75-$100 per sport, per student
  • $25 per club, per student
  • Annual earnings projection: $13,000-$17,000

District music activities

  • Between $75-$100 per activity, per student
  • Annual earnings projection: $8,000-$10,000

Regarding other proposals to reduce expenditures, Davis has recommended that no cuts be made to the district's $1.5 million bussing and transportation budget.

However, several post-Issue 10 cuts are already in motion. Two special education teachers, one middle school math teacher and a library media specialist have been laid off, which will save the district $237,000.

School officials are also finalizing the elimination of 23 classified jobs, many of which are part-time, to save $286,000.

School officials and administrators have also agreed to freeze their step increases, take a zero percent base salary raise and increase their healthcare contributions from seven to 10 percent through 2016, saving the district roughly $94,000, said Levenger.

There will also be $70,000 in major spending freezes.

These cuts will keep the district in the black by $268,000 through the 2013-14 school year; yet, by the end of 2015, expenditures will balloon and the school system will be $8.6 million in the red unless a levy is passed, according to an updated five-year budget forecast.

The district will have two more chances, in August and November, to pass an issue. Levenger said the next proposed levy will be comparable to Issue 10, a five-year, 6.83-mill emergency levy that would generate $3 million per year and cost homeowners $209 for every $100,000 in valuation.

If voters give it the green light, the district will be $2.1 million in the black at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

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