A once-balanced RPS 205 operating budget is now in the red - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

A once-balanced RPS 205 operating budget is now in the red

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District #205 CFO Cedric Lewis District #205 CFO Cedric Lewis
Board member Jude Makulec Board member Jude Makulec

$2 million. That's now Rockford Public Schools District #205's shortfall for fiscal year 2014. Some school board members didn't take the news lightly.

According to the district's Chief Financial Officer Cedric Lewis, these are new numbers that administrators looked on Monday of this week. This wasn't presented at the time committees heard past budget proposals. The deficit comes from transportation costs. According to Lewis, Rockford Public Schools houses a fleet of more than 250 buses. Due to wear and tear, 22 of them need to be retired next year. The district plans to recycle them out and add 22 new buses. These will be propane vehicles. The other buses are diesels. Lewis says in the next 10 years, those 22 will save the district $600,000 compared to what it would cost for diesel fuel. Board member Jude Makulec says the sudden change in numbers bothers her. She understands the concept of recycling the fleet, but questions why these numbers weren't presented to committees. The board has until July 1st to adopt the fiscal year 2014 spending plan. Lewis assures there's still plenty of time.

"I've got a few suggestions that I'll bring to the cabinet and Superintendent. $2 million, in the size of our spending plan, it's minuscule so we'll balance the budget with no problems." -he explains.

Another announcement at the meeting, Chief Operating Officer Todd Schmidt says bids have been put out for the first part of the Facilities Master Plan, which is replacing the windows at East High School. It's a $2.2 million first step. Schmidt says several agencies have already responded. He's hoping to make a vendor recommendation to the board at their next meeting April 23rd.

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