Budget deficit could throw a wrench into United’s auditorium construction plans

Following many other districts with budget projections in the red for the fiscal year 2021, United School District 304 is also looking at a budget deficit.

School board members Thursday night were given a presentation on the school year budget by Superintendent Jeff Whitsitt.

Whitsitt says that the district isn’t “too bad off” considering they’re projecting a deficit of $1.8 million, though most of that is for Health/Life/Safety work that has already been bonded.

“It looks worse than it is because we’ve got some life/safety projects that we bonded for. So, the revenue came in two years ago and we’re just now expending some of it this year, like 1.5 million. So, we show a not-quite $1.8 million deficit right now. But, 1.5 of that was — the revenue is there it just didn’t [get raised] this year.”

Because of the expected budget deficit, the district is considering delaying the auditorium project that was to be started towards the end of the year.

Whitsitt tells WGIL that board members discussed whether or not moving forward with the auditorium is a good idea considering the unknowns of the budget.

“We don’t know if this is the best time to be doing something like that or not. But, through our discussion last night it was decided that we could go ahead and seek the bids. We might be in a great bidding environment right now. There might be a lot of construction outfits looking for work right now, particularly this fall and winter.

He says the district will look at received bids and see how competitive is before making a decision. If the board feels that they’re not comfortable moving forward with the auditorium work, they have the right to refuse them.

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