Oak Park schools show budget surplus

District 97 spent $3.3 million less than projected, says administration

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 is showing a surplus for the 2012-13 budget year, according to preliminary numbers released by the district.

The district actually spent $3.3 million dollars, or 4.6 percent, less than was budgeted, said Therese O'Neill, D97's assistant superintendent for finance and operations.

Overall, the district projected expenditures at about $71.6 million, but will end up at around $68 million. The district's fund balance is around $32 million. The district incurred savings in several funds, including in the education fund and in special education, O'Neill said.

The district also spent less than what was budgeted in the area of technology, a result of transitioning to new computer software, among other savings. In operations and maintenance, the district incurred savings the last few years, O'Neill said, due in part to D97 custodial staff handling work traditionally outsourced.

"Where we under-expended is in what we call major categories — purchased services, supplies and materials, capital outlays, dues and fees, and tuitions," O'Neill said.

The preliminary 2013-14 budget was released last week. The final budget is scheduled to be adopted on Sept. 24.

Reader Comments

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Stop the Insanity  

Posted: September 12th, 2013 5:31 PM

Why not spend surplus on window or portable A/C units for elementary schools to improve air quality in these microbial petri dishes. Global warming trends HAVE changed. Forgo an I Pad on every desk. Baby Boomers may recall it was unbearably hot attending Chicago schools in May, June, and Sept. back in the 1950s and 1960s. Even Catholic schools permitted students to be out of their heavy woolen uniforms.

Huh? from Oak Park   

Posted: September 12th, 2013 3:41 PM

Dear Been There, my special needs (aka disabled) child has been enrolled in D97 since the day after he turned three years old. More than a decade later I can safely say your comment bears little resemblance to our experience. We received nothing but support and most competent services. I cannot think of another district I would enroll my son in, really and truly.

Corrine from Chicago  

Posted: September 7th, 2013 12:40 AM

Respectfully, I'd like to add that climate does affect learning. Children have a lot of trouble concentrating when the temps in class are over 80 degrees. Children need to learn routines and procedures in those first weeks so we can get right to work, but our day is disrupted as we continually have to search for cool spaces in auditoriums or other cooled facilities with many other classes. We lose instructional time. I get it is expensive, but it's a very sound investment in our children.

Been there  

Posted: July 20th, 2013 10:26 PM

I'm not sure where all the stuff about air conditioning comes from but, as the parent of a child with a disability I would suggest that before parents of "normal" kids cry discrimination, they should spend a day or two parenting a child with a disability. It's not an easy walk and the few crumbs that D97 send our way are probably mostly notable because of how little they do otherwise.

What?? from Oak Park  

Posted: July 17th, 2013 4:27 PM

Lovely...the lack of air conditioning is discrimination card. I'm sure the board has reviewed the cost of A/C for all buildings & decided we can't afford it. D97 schools haven't had AC for, oh, 110 years. How on earth did anyone learn anything for all that time? I & my kids went to grade school here, we were warm in Aug/Sept. but we dealt with it by opening windows & turning on fans. We LIKED it! Toughen up your little crumb crunchers & teach them to deal with a little adversity. That's life.

Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: July 17th, 2013 4:13 PM

Would like to know how many degree days above 80 were there in the last 10 years. If less than 10, I am in line behind OP Rez #545 for my rebate.

Air condtitioning  

Posted: July 17th, 2013 8:44 AM

I think the $$$ would be better spent on AIR CONDITIONING! For ALL classes not just the IEP classrooms. Just because my child is "normal" he gets to roast in class with his other non-iep classmates. Unacceptable. Perhaps a little on the discriminating side.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: July 17th, 2013 8:18 AM

I prefer to have my rebate of this surplus delivered via direct deposit. Can I obtain a form from the D(& website?

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