D63 Stable After Cuts, But Uncertainty Looms
One year ago, the district made drastic spending cuts. It has balanced its budget, but fears more expenses on the horizon--and less funding for them from feds and state.
When Jane Wojtkiewicz spoke Wednesday night, she had the reassurance of knowing East Maine School District had a balanced budget.
That's a result of drastic spending cuts the board made one year ago.
But Wojtkiewicz, the president of the district's board, also expressed uncertainty.
Earlier: District 63 makes cuts
"There are big unknowns that could arise," she said at the board meeting of the district, which educates students from Niles, Morton Grove, Des Plaines, Glenview and Park Ridge.
So while the board made unpopular, but necessary, cuts to balance its budget a year ago, it may soon face major expenses that put it in financial trouble again.
According to Dr. Scott Clay, the district superintendent, some of the looming expenses include:
- $6.6 million in capital expenses, such as new roofs for its school buildings, over the next five years.
- The possibility of less grant money from the federal government.
- The possibility of cash-strapped Illinois government requiring school districts, such as District 63, to pay a much larger percent toward pension contributions (from the current 0.58 percent the district provides to an estimated 8.9 percent).
- Teachers' unions negotiating for salary increases.
"I think we've successfully addressed the issues we were facing in the past year and given ourselves some breathing room," Clay said. "Now we're facing unknowns and we don't know how to make decisions based on facts. It makes it difficult for us to make a lot of plans."
The district operates Gemini Junior High and Nelson School in Niles, Melzer School in Morton Grove, Washington School in Glenview and Apollo and Stevenson Schools in Des Plaines.