Ogle County school district prepares for larger deficit than exp - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Ogle County school district prepares for larger deficit than expected

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STILLMAN VALLEY (WREX) - An Ogle County school district budgets for a higher-than-expected deficit. It's heading into this school year in the red, but there is a way to help balance the numbers.

"We've cut 20% of our budget in three years that's almost unheard of." -says Meridian CUSD #223 Superintendent P.J. Caposey.

Meridian has recently cut costs and increased fees; all to mend an ailing budget. School starts in two weeks with fewer staff as well as dropping enrollment, state aid and area property values. That all leads to a higher-than-expected deficit.

"We have declining enrollment, but we have increased free and reduced and we have decreasing EAV and thecombinationn of the three we thought would offset and it didn't." -says Caposey.

But, projections weren't off by much. District administrators predicted a roughly $400,000 shortfall for this upcoming school year. The reality is $500,000. In three months, Stillman Valley voters decide whether to allow a property tax increase which would bring the district roughly $1 million in tax revenue and help tackle this looming deficit as well as shortfalls for years to come. Property tax bills would increase around $200 for every $100,000 of property owned. Meridian is banking on community support to get back on track not only in the upcoming election, but also through volunteer efforts, like the district's inaugural Cardinal Pride Day on August 7th.

"We're calling on the community to come out and give us a hand, do things from painting dug-outs to pulling weeds, helping repair some sheds on our property." -Caposey adds.

To stay up-to-date on the district's budget announcements, click here.

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