205 anticipating significant deficit in school budget

As District 205’s budgetary process begins for the coming year, things are going to be tough.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, revenues from several sources are anticipated to be down, including a reduction in tax collection, federal Title One funding, as well as half of the expected categorical payments.

However, Jennifer Hamm, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations for District 205, told board members that the categorical payments hinge on the passage of the graduated income tax.

“If that graduated income tax does not pass, there is no secured funding to, basically, fund the educational items that were passed at the end of June. So, we had level funding from 2019-2020 but the new budget was basically built on the assumption that the graduated income tax would pass. So, if that doesn’t, then we could be looking at zero payments going forward on our categoricals.”

Hamm told the board the revenue shortfall was expected to be $7.2 million.

Superintendent Dr. John Asplund assured the board this deficit was not exclusive to Galesburg.

“$7 million one-year deficit is terrible. But understand that’s what every school district should be having that conversation, proportionally, with their school boards because this is everybody’s reality. At some point, the state’s going to have to make some decisions about how to move forward. Some of that is predicated on the federal government. And, let’s be honest, we know that’s dysfunctional.”

Asplund said that the board’s previous actions in approving the reduction in forces helped put the district in a better position.

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