The Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education approved a tentative 2022-23 fiscal year budget last week that projects a nearly $500,000 operating surplus. The budget will be on display at the school for a month and can also be viewed on the district’s website (rbhs208.net).

Assistant Superintendent Kristin Smetana emphasized that the budget will change over the next couple of months as final staffing decisions are made and the precise level of state aid is revealed. The final budget will not be approved until September even though the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

“We’ll be continually reviewing the budget in July and August,” Smetana said.

Smetana said the state aid that RBHS will receive under the evidence-based funding formula is expected to increase next year, but the preliminary budget includes last year’s amount because the state has not yet announced how much money RBHS and other school districts will be receiving. 

The tentative budget projects revenues of $29,198,567 and expenses of $28,699,612. The bulk of the district’s revenues comes from property taxes.

Expenses for the salaries of teachers and other certified staff are projected to increase by 5.89 percent next year due to the new teachers’ contract approved last month. The cost of medical and dental insurance is expected to increase by 2.82 percent. Administrative salaries are projected to increase by 4.63 percent.

Salary costs for paraprofessionals are projected to jump a steep 28.53 percent next year, because the new contract gave all paraprofessionals $3 per hour raises. 

The amount that RBHS pays to the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education cooperative, commonly known at LADSE, is projected to increase 25.35 percent to $882,459 next year due to additional purchased services and staffing rate changes. 

LADSE provides RBHS with school psychologists, social workers and provides special education services.

Out-of-district special education costs for tuition at private, specialized schools and transportation costs for special education students are both projected to decrease by about 8.6 percent. 

The amount the district pays to its janitorial contractor, Aramark, is projected to increase by 5.69 percent to a little over $1.3 million due to an increase in the minimum wage.

On the revenue side, property tax collections are projected to rise 4.4 percent to approximately $22.3 million. Rental fees are projected to increase by 21.43 percent as rentals of school spaces, mostly the fieldhouse and gym, return to pre-pandemic levels. This is projected to net the school an additional $15,000 in revenue over last year.

The school is projected to receive approximately $300,000 in federal pandemic relief money next year, down from about $810,000 this year. 

The district is also expected to end the 2021-22 fiscal year with a surplus, but the exact amount will not be known until next month.

The school board also approved new goals for the district, completing a process that began more than two years ago. The five goals include exploring how to maximize curricular days to foster academic rigor and social emotional supports for students; researching opportunities to increase engagement with stakeholders; continuing training and engagement in diversity, equity and inclusion; maintaining responsible budgeting while investing in staff and programs that directly affect student outcomes; and advocating to increase the district’s physical footprint to support operations and curricular and extracurricular activities.