Former mayors right on the money with review of school district’s budget deficit
Three former mayors John McNamara, Charles Box and Doug Scott are members of a special committee searching for financial experts to look into the school district’s disputed budget. Comments made thus far by the former mayors are right on target with respect to the RSD205 budgeting process.
WREX posted on it’s website on Wednesday that Mayor Box had commented on the district’s budget saying,”We keep in mind that these are projections, best estimates of what the expenditures are for the coming year and revenues. Especially on the revenue side not knowing what the state of Illinois is going to do.”
Budgets are the best estimates that any municipal entity can make based on past trends, property values increasing or decreasing over the last three year period, state and federal aid, all of which the entity has little or no control.
Box also alluded to the fact that it’s not possible to audit the current fiscal year, as requested by the REA, as reported in the Rockford Register Star today when he said at Thursday’s meeting, ““You can’t audit fiscal year ’11 when you’ve got four, five months left in it,” Box said.
From Register Star reporter Cathy Bayer’s tweets Friday – McNamara stated that what the REA is asking for is a moving target and that it is not uncommon for some expenditures or even revenue to be off a little bit, months into the budget year.
However, the committee is scheduled to meet again Monday and come to the meeting with names of consultants that will review just the three areas of General State Aid, Employee Benefits Expenditures and Corporate Personal Property Replacement taxes that were part of the board’s resolution for review. A member of the committee will ask the board at Tuesday night’s meeting for an extension.
The special committee said Thursday that much of the work doesn’t require a consultant, as originally outlined by the Rockford School Board. I agree! The three mayors have the necessary experience with municipal budgets to resolve the few disputed variables or at least determine the range of deficits for 2011, so the district can move forward with this process.
The committee should be able to do this task without taking more time to hire and pay a consultant, going over the same numbers with the consultant, that the mayors have already reviewed – there remains only three disputed estimates.
The district and the board have little time to review this year’s (2011) budget items, when it’s the 2012 budget that is being developed by the school administration to provide the district ample time to do what is necessary to stop the bleeding of reserves, without risking state mandated and contractual timelines for a reduction in force.