Grayslake D46 Approves Deficit Budget

In a special meeting meeting Sept. 27, the Grayslake District 46 School Board voted 4 to 3 to approve the budget for fiscal year 2012-13, but not without contention.

After failing to reach a majority vote last week, the Grayslake District 46 School Board held a special meeting at Avon School on Sept. 27 to take another vote on the proposed $49.1 million budget for 2012-13.

This time, there was no tie. The budget, which has a deficit of $1.2 million, was approved 4 to 3.

Board members Sue Facklam, Ray Millington, Keith Surroz and Karen Weinert voted to approve the budget, while Michael Carbone, Kip Evans and Shannon Smigielski voted against it. Carbone was not present for the Sept. 19 meeting, which resulted in a 3-3 tie.

Thursday's special meeting was necessary to approve the budget before Sept. 30, which is the Illinois State Board of Education's deadline for school districts to adopt their budgets.

If the board had rejected the proposed budget, it would have needed to be revised then displayed for 30 days before another vote could be taken.

Legally, said Chief School Business Official Anna Kasprzyk, the district was required to approve its budget by Sept. 30 to operate the schools. Failure to meet the deadline would have left the district open to a state board investigation.

Regardless, some board members felt moving to approve a deficit budget was not appropriate.

Kasprzyk said the board could approve the deficit budget then amend it in the spring to include additional reductions. Last year, the board approved a budget that had a $1.6 million deficit, but reductions were made in the following months which decreased the deficit to $200,000.

Facklam echoed it was not necessary to "rewrite" the budget now, especially since there are internal transfers that still need to be approved via resolution, transfers that will cover the deficit spending.

The 2012-13 budget includes two transfers, including an interfund transfer of $1.4 million from the sale of Lakeview School. This money is budgeted to be moved into the Education Fund, which has a deficit of nearly $1.3 million.

The Education Fund represents 67 percent of the overall budget and is the budget's largest fund at $33.1 million.


"It seems very backwards," said Smigielski of voting on a deficit budget, which also includes a tax increase. "We should get as balanced as we can before we submit the budget."

"We have to dig in deep to look at the long-term," said Millington. This is the best picture that Anna (Kasprzyk) could put together."

Kasprzyk said the budget deficit is the result of reduced revenue and the district losing $1.5 million in state aid, "not because we're overspending."

Smigielski said she doesn't understand how the board could justify its recent  approval of administrative salary increases, including one that was reportedly increased by 40 percent.

Surroz said the effort to realign administrative salaries was based on careful review, comparison to neighboring districts, a goal to maintain quality administrators, and the fact that previous wage increases were "0, 0 and 1 percent."

The increases, Surroz, amounted to only $36,000 "to bring them in line."

"That's a very small increase," he said.

Regardless, said Carbone, administrators received bonuses of $5,500 last school year.

"I agree with paying people what they're worth," said Smigielski, "when we have the money."

Surroz, who voted not to approve the proposed budget on Sept. 19, relented Thursday, stating he didn't want to "get caught up in a whirlwind of not going forward" and that he had a strong desire to see more cuts made.

Evans said he was voting against the budget again because nothing had changed and the nothing was presented on how to reduce the deficit.

"We're going down the wrong path," he said.

Carbone, who abstained from voting on the 2011-12 budget in protest and who voted against the last tax levy increase, said, "Here we are again, because it's a process."

"The process has been the same for four years and I won't agree to it anymore."

Scary Situation

Local business owner Kris Merritt, who owns the Platford Corporation, which deals in commercial realty, spoke during public comment. He said he attended the budget meeting to learn more about the district's financial issues, which he called "scary."

"What I'm hearing is scaring me. A tax increase? That's not a good idea. A deficit? This is like a rock that is going to break loose."

"It is a dire situation," said Millington.


Sandra Sims September 28, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Wpw. Shocking. More tax increases. And the same four, Millington, Faclam, Surroz and Weinert sticking their hands in our pockets again. They apparently know how to do nothing else. And of course their stellar choices of Correll and Kasprzyk. Unbelievable. If the taxpayers of D46 don't vote these buffoons out in April, there really will be no hope.
Lennie Jarratt September 28, 2012 at 03:39 AM
Woodland D50 approved a balanced budget, Grayslake High School D127 approved a balanced budget. But D46 continues to deficit spend; run through business managers like water; hire former board members, spouses and family members; disband the finance committee, and then continues to give Correll contract extensions all the while playing political games against the board members who are actually trying to get the focus on the children and a sustainable future for the district. FYI, Millington, Weinert, Surroz and Carbone are the members up for re-election in April.
Brad Faxton September 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Exactly right on point - now is the PERFECT time to GET RID OF CARBONE!
Jose Cuervo September 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Consider Carbone gone. Here is a sample of what the others of the majaority support: "We have to dig in deep to look at the long-term," said Millington. This is the best picture that Anna (Kasprzyk) could put together." That is the BEST?? Deficit spending even after a tax increase is the best Kasprzyk, Correll, Weinert, Surroz, and Milington could come up with? Kris Merritt said it all: SCARY!
Brad Faxton September 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM
And you know, having a budget & actuals are 2 different animals. As the year progresses, expenses should be looked at very carefully. If the ad-hoc request comes in for a widget, good thought should be put forth if it is needed or not. If your cost center has $ and you are of the mentality, "if I don't spend it right now, I won't get more next year...." and you foolishly spend it just because, you need to look in the mirror.
yada September 28, 2012 at 03:12 PM
"Kasprzyk said the budget deficit is the result of reduced revenue and the district losing $1.5 million in state aid," Seems to me if the state could live up to its obligation we wouldn't have a deficit.
Jose Cuervo September 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Yada, why is it that the surrounding districts including Grayslake highschool D127 were able to pass budgets without deficits? They all lost state aid and managed to do what D46 could not. The loss of revenue hurt everyone. The difference is the expenditures. D46 obviously is not controlling theirs.
HM September 28, 2012 at 06:56 PM
District 46 has a lot of redundancy in overhead, because it includes 7 schools, all with secretaries, priciples, janitorial staff, etc. The costs to maintain such an infastructure are great. On top of that, those in power have no common sense, which is evident in the fact that administrative raises were given when there is a $2 million shortfall. Mr. Surroz, when you are in the hole nearly $2 Million, $36.000 IS NOT a small amount of money because you DO NOT HAVE IT! I do not know why that is not abundantly clear. Did Ellen get a raise too? Is that documented anywhere? This shortfall from the state is something we have known about. Brad Goldstein warned about this a couple of years ago, and since then the state has been chronically "late" with their expenditures, and has finally admitted they can't send money they don't have. I don't know why the business managers since Brad ever counted on that money - shame on them. Other districts seem to have planned much better for this. Where was our administration? Cooking up plans to give themselves a raise in the midst of a huge deficit. Get rid of all who agreed to this nonsense!
yada September 28, 2012 at 09:23 PM
They were in a different financial position to begin with probably. Or they may not be missing as much state funding as D46. The difference is not necessarily expenditures. The financial position and the amount of state aid matter in this equation, too.
Lennie Jarratt September 28, 2012 at 09:34 PM
yada, I know you are just trying to justify the incompetence in D46. Read some of the other threads and you will see for years they have been provided ideas on how to cut spending. For years they have been warned about the fiscal issues looming and yet they did virtually nothing. Just a month ago they even disbanded the Finance Committee which had provided over $6.5 Million in savings. D46 is not being managed well as evidenced by articles in the press for years.
yada October 01, 2012 at 07:19 PM
"I know you are just..." Then you don't know much. Always setting up a strawman, Lennie. Always. The question was why surrounding districts were able to pass budgets without deficits and I merely suggested a possible answer. I know you would like the only answer to every question to be "the D46 board is awful", but the world doesn't work that way.
CT G October 17, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Do I understand this properly? If the budget deadline was missed, the district would be subject to a state board investigation? So the budget was approved with a deficit, pending internal transfers, and now the district is not subject to a state board investigation. Am I to deduce from this that once the internal transfers take place there will no longer be a deficit?


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