QPS committee looks at tentative balanced budget

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 23, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Quincy Public Schools projects an $83 million balanced budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

"It's really very similar to last year," Chief of Business Operations Ryan Whicker said. "A couple things I will point out is a 2% increase for salaries per the bargaining agreement as well as a 6% increase in health care (costs)."

Whicker outlined the tentative budget Monday for the Finance Committee and will review it with the School Board on Wednesday night.

"This is to get something in place so we're operating under a budget," he said. "A lot of these numbers are estimates at this point. I like to have the sure estimates from the experts, and those will come in over the next two months."

In the Education Fund, the district's largest, Whicker expects a $300,000 increase in local property tax revenue due to a boost in the equalized assessed value, an increase of $320,000 in evidence-based funding from the state and $3.9 million in personal property replacement tax revenue, the same amount the district got in 2018-19.

Most expenditures remain the same except an estimated $978,000 to cover salary and benefits for 23 new support staff members, including 12 paraprofessionals and six school support and family liaisons to work primarily with social-emotional needs of students and families.

"We're starting to add back some reductions we had over the past few years," Whicker said. "A lot of reductions were due to attrition. As people left, we didn't replace them, but now staff are letting us know we need additional staff."

Operations and Maintenance will see revenue from replacement taxes and supply costs drop by $350,000, with that money shifting to Transportation to help boost slipping revenues because of an estimated $430,000 decrease in state funding.

The Fire Prevention and Life Safety Fund will pay out an estimated $4.4 million for projects across the district, and the Capital Project Fund will pay out an estimated $4 million for the remaining costs for the new schools. Fund revenue "counted the $200,000 sale of Washington School which hasn't been finalized," Whicker said. "Most likely, there will be other buildings sold this year, and we'll direct that back into the new buildings."

The School Board expects to adopt the budget in September.

Also Monday, Whicker said the district finished the 2018-19 fiscal year in the black in all but one fund, where expenses outpaced revenue by $20,000.

"In the operating funds, we have about a $3.2 million surplus. A lot was due to unexpected revenue, so we're not expecting that big of a surplus next year," Superintendent Roy Webb said.

But Webb said two years in a row the district has ended the year with a "good" surplus.

"Ryan does a great job putting everything together. His budgets, even though conservative, always come out pretty much as he directed," he said. "He's a little low on revenue and a little high on expenditures on his expectations. He does that by design so when we finish the year, we have good news."

The Education Fund finished with a $2.1 million surplus, Whicker said, due in part to holding the line on expenses throughout the fiscal year.

"We were under budget on all funds as far as expenditures are concerned," he said. "District-wide we did a great job."

Also Monday, the committee looked at bids for bread and produce for the 2019-20 school year.

Kohl Wholesale was the lowest of two bidders for bread at $45,817.22, and Central Illinois Produce was the lowest of two bidders for produce at $1.50 for a full case and $1 for a broken case over average market price.