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.
HOW TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK
- 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).
- Email. Board Member email addresses are listed at District 15 School Board. And/or you can provide feedback to Superintendent Scott Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org 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. This slide is apparent in the estimates for the 2014-2015 budget. Following shows how the estimated 2014-2015 deficit has gotten worse each time we received an update over the past year:
- October 2013: $1.1 million deficit
- March 2014: $1.3 million deficit
- June 2014: $3.6 million deficit
- September 2014: $4.0 million deficit
As you can see, the District 15 Administration has long been forecasting a deficit but has not taken action to balance the budget. Nor have they presented options to the Board to help reduce or eliminate the forecasted budget deficit.
A majority of the Board also has not taken any action and instead has allowed the Administration to continue proposing a deficit for this year.
On the other hand, a minority of the Board has consistently expressed concern about this, most recently at the August public hearing about the budget. Watch this video starting at 0:00:45. Video of District 15 August 2014 School Board Meeting.
This budget public hearing was the subject of the Daily Herald article “Dist. 15 projects $3.6 million budget deficit.”