Belleville District 118 school board unanimously approved the district's $40 million budget for this school year at its meeting Tuesday night.
The fiscal year 2014 budget projects a deficit at the end of the year of $1.7 million as expenditures exceed revenues in the district's operating funds, Assistant Superintendent Ryan Boike said.
"It's never good to deficit spend," he said, but "our number one priority is to give this year's kids the best opportunities we can."
If it wasn't for the state's reduction in the per pupil general state aid for this school year, Boike said the district's fiscal year 2014 budget would end in the black. Instead of funding the per student state aid at 100 percent, Illinois is providing district's 88.6 percent of its state aid this school year.
"That proration cost us $1.7 million. Ironically, the same amount of money we are deficit spending," Boike said.
Even with the deficit spending in this year's budget, he said the district expects to end the fiscal year on June 30 with $7.8 million in its operating fund.
The district's total revenue is down more than $1.5 million this fiscal year. The district received $42 million in revenue in fiscal year 2013, Boike said, and is projecting $40.5 million in revenue this fiscal year.
Despite the loss in revenue, the district increased its expenditures this fiscal year by $700,000. Expenditures in fiscal year 2013 were $42.3 million, and fiscal year 2014 budgeted expenditures are $43 million.
A majority of the district's budget -- 58 percent -- is employee salaries at nearly $25 million. Benefits, 13 percent of the budget, add another $5.6 million on top of that.
"All things considered we are in pretty good shape," Boike said. "We will continue to be very conservative."
"For us, a budget is an estimated working document," Superintendent Matt Klosterman said. "It's fluid, and it keeps changing."
The board accepted the fiscal year 2013 audit prepared by Rice, Sullivan and Company at its meeting Tuesday.
"Overall, we feel really good about the outcome of the audit," Klosterman said.
Two representatives from Rice, Sullivan and Company -- Bill Dixon and Kristen Schuler -- presented an overview of the audit to members of the district's finance committee prior to the board meeting.
"Every year we work closely with the auditors to address any issues that they might identify, which are very few for us," Klosterman said.
The auditors recommended the district tweak it's recovery plan for electronic data if a disaster were to occur. Dixon also said the audit found the district's expenditures were in excess of the amount budgeted in three separate funds.
In other news, the school board approved raises for the district's food service union members, occupational and physical therapists and hourly employees.
The district's 45 full- and part-time food service employees will receive a 2.5 percent raise this school year and a 3 percent increase next year, Boike said.
The occupational and physical therapists will receive a salary step increase this year and next year, and Boike said the district's hourly employees will get a 2.5 percent increase on average.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.