District 15 Deficit Spending

September 9, 2014

Dear District 15 Community,

Are you concerned about your property taxes? You should be.

District 15 is heading down the slippery slope of deficit spending, which ultimately leads to higher taxes.

The budget for this year authorizes a $4.0 million deficit and is on the agenda for approval by the Board this Wednesday, September 10th, at 7pm.

Putting this in perspective… to balance the budget would require only a 1.5% reduction in the District’s $151 million expenditures budget. A reduction of this size would continue to fund the $1.8 million for additional capital improvement projects approved by the Board in March from our relatively small fund balance surplus.

A balanced budget can easily be accomplished through some combination of finding real savings, deferring discretionary spending, and/or adjusting the forecast if estimates are overly conservative.


  1. In Person. A public comment period is on the agenda at each Board Meeting before the Board takes action. Board meetings are normally held at Walter R. Sundling Junior High School (Google Map).
  2. Email. Board Member email addresses are listed at District 15 School Board. And/or you can provide feedback to Superintendent Scott Thompson at or to me by visiting my contact page.


As you may recall, the severe structural deficit we were facing in District 15 was corrected over two years ago through a collaborative effort between the board, administration, employee groups and the community.

Unfortunately that success appears to be slipping away. Continue reading District 15 Deficit Spending

District 15 Board Goals for 2014-2015

September 3, 2014

Dear District 15 Community,

District 15 will be considering Board Goals for the 2014-2015 school year at the School Board meeting next Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, at 7pm.

A first draft was presented to the Board at our August meeting and there was an extended discussion of concerns and suggestions for changes; however, only one change was made in the revised draft to expand the scope of the goal to create a long-term financial plan.

My concerns and suggestions were not incorporated into the revised draft. As just one example, there is no Board Goal in two categories: Enhance Student Learning and Stakeholder Involvement. As a School Board Member I find it unacceptable that we have no Board Goal to enhance learning nor improve stakeholder involvement.

Following are the current draft goals:

GOAL CATEGORY #1: Enhance Student Learning

  • Board Goal: None

Continue reading District 15 Board Goals for 2014-2015

District 15 is publishing misleading financial information

UPDATE 3/31/2014: The misleading reporting issue that is the subject of this post was largely corrected by District 15 starting with financial reports issued in March 2014. For financial reports issued from October 2013 through February 2014 you would need to carefully consider the impact of the double-counting issue noted here for District 15 revenue and expenditures.


District 15 started publishing misleading financial information this month.

The problem is caused by including transfers between funds in total Expenditures and Revenues, which results in both Expenditures and Revenues being overstated.

The impact of the problem can be seen in two main areas. First, it distorts both revenue and expenditures, which makes year-to-year comparisons invalid. Following are the expenditures as reported by District 15 in the 5-year forecast presented this month along with the corrected amounts. This mistake is most obvious in 2013/14 where Expenditures are overstated by $8.9 million.

Continue reading District 15 is publishing misleading financial information