On Sept. 8 the Riverside-Brookfield High School Board of Education will vote to approve a new budget.
The tentative budget calls for the district to run a small operating surplus of $44,959. That operating surplus does not take into account the expenditure of $9.5 million in construction expenses for a new football field, a new track, new bleachers, a large storm water retention vault, roof replacements, and other capital improvements.
The $9.5 million in capital improvements also includes $100,000 that is budgeted for legal fees resulting from the district’s lawsuit against the village of Brookfield, which denied the school’s bid for zoning variances to let it build a new parking lot.
Last month the district sold about $6.4 million in working cash bonds to help pay for the construction costs.
The budget calls for operating revenues of $22,654,000 and expenses, including the construction expenses, of $29,109,041. The construction expenses will largely be paid with transfers from the district’s working cash fund. The budget calls for the district to end the 2015-16 fiscal year with cash reserves of about $10.5 million in the operating budget and total reserves of about $17 million.
Certified staff increased by the equivalent of 2.9 full-time positions. One additional special education teacher was hired due to the increased number of students with Individual Education Plans. There are incremental staffing increases in the math, social sciences, applied arts, wellness and fine arts department along with a few other small changes in staffing.
“[Interim Chief Financial Officer] Tim McGinnis has worked closely with the building administration and myself to develop what we believe to be a fiscally responsible budget for the entire district for the 2015-16 school year,” said District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis in an email. “The budget allowed for the District to add 2.9 certified staff members and implement a one-to-one [Chromebook] initiative for the incoming freshmen. Tim also did a very thorough job to accommodate staff requests while ensuring the budget has a small surplus.”
Administrative salaries will decrease by nearly $125,000, as four new administrators were hired to replace some highly paid administrators who retired or moved on, such as former Assistant Principal John Passarella, former Special Education Director Gayle Brankin, and former Athletic Director Art Ostrow. Kylie Gregor, the new assistant principal for curriculum and instruction is also making less than her predecessor.
Textbook expenditures are scheduled to fall by $80,000, since new textbooks were purchased last year in some classes.
Technology expenses are budgeted to increase by $137,000 this year, reflecting the cost of the new one-to-one program that gives each freshman a Chromebook.
Stipends for coaches and club sponsors were not increased this year.
The district will receive $17,000 in new revenue from leasing space on its cell tower to Sprint. The budget also includes a one-time grant of $165,000 from Aramark, the company that provides janitorial services to RBHS. The grant was part of a contract renewal.
This year RBHS is receiving $33,000 less in federal Title I money, which is determined by the number of low income students in a school, and the district will receive $10,800 less in federal money from the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act due to the new allocation of Title I money.