CCSD21 is planning to transfer $20 million from its education fund into the operations and maintenance fund. This money will then be transferred into the capital projects funds, as required by law, for use to complete projects as part of the 10-year facilities and maintenance plan.
The 2022-2023 annual budget included a permanent transfer of $12 million, which Micheal DeBartolo, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said represented the surplus available to transfer from fiscal year 2022. The additional $8 million was based on board discussion and the philosophy of maintaining a fund balance not to exceed 50% of the next year’s expenditures.
“We are not a for-profit organization, so we should not have increasing fund balances while we have needs,” DeBartolo said, adding the district already has numerous capital needs to tend to in order to ensure its learning spaces, first and foremost, have everything needed to enhance the learning environment and are updated to 21st century learning standards as promised in passing the referendum.
He added that the district will begin the process of funding renovations of bathrooms and playgrounds as its utmost priority, but also look to budding priorities such as roofs, windows and doors. Once the board policy on fund balance reserve and planning for capital projects is finalized, the district plans to draw down the fund balance reserve even more to start expediting the funding of these projects.
Based upon the new board policy, there will also be a committed line item in the budget annually to fund at least 75% of the next year’s summer projects, which could include general renovations, changes to classrooms, building envelope repairs or even the district’s plans to tear down part of the unused Gill Administration Center to create an outdoor learning space.
The district is planning to hold a public hearing on the permanent transfer on May 18.