Tentative District 220 budget includes higher transportation costs

Higher busing costs will be part of Barrington Area Unit District 220’s tentative budget when it’s presented to the school board next week.

District 220 significantly cut expenses for the past two academic years. The district made employee and other cuts totaling $2.6 million as officials worked to achieve a $137 million balanced budget for 2016-17.

“We cut almost 25 (full-time positions) out last year to balance the budget,” District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said. “So it was pretty significant in every employee group.”

This time, officials are not grappling with major cuts as they finish the tentative budget, which will go to the District 220 board Tuesday night. The final 2017-18 budget is expected to be up for approval Sept. 19.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Tim Neubauer said early indications show the district will take in 1.3 percent more revenue compared to 2016-17. It also is projected the final revenue total collected for last year will top a budgeted $137 million.

Higher expenditures for student transportation will be part of the 2017-18 financial picture. Under a three-year deal as the lone bidder approved by the school board in April, Barrington Transportation Co. will handle student busing for an estimated $11.1 million; $9.5 million was expected for 2016-17.

Neubauer said increased driver wages and more buses needed due to new start times are among the reasons for the transportation cost hike.

District 220 employees contained expenses in 2016-17, in part by conservative purchases of supplies and services, according to a preliminary finding ahead of the release of an annual audit. Harris and Neubauer complimented leaders at individual schools for being cost-conscious without a directive.

“I think there’s just an awareness of what’s going on there,” Harris said at a recent finance committee session. “I think people are being…

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