Responsible Financial Planning in D107

A good financial plan is a road map that shows us exactly how the choices we make today will affect our future. ~Alexa Von Tobel

In Pleasantdale SD 107, we have several systems in place to ensure that the district finances are in good order and that we are being transparent in how we spend taxpayer dollars.  For instance, each year we publish a budget which reflects our priorities and helps us achieve our mission of Creating a community of inspired learners.  When the district sets the tax levy, the process is done in public through an open hearing.  Likewise, we have our books audited annually and make the results of the audit public.  This ensures that we are following best financial practices and lets the community know we have nothing to hide.

Beyond the basics, we take our planning and transparency a step further and conduct an annual financial projection process.  The purpose of these projections is to predict revenues and expenditures, using assumptions of potential costs, market size, prices, market conditions, and so on.  A five-year financial projection is a tool that the district uses to make decisions about expenditures and allows us to prioritize our spending.  An analysis of our budget makes it clear that instruction is our highest priority, with over 75% of the district budget dedicated to expenditures that have a direct impact on students.  

The current Pleasantdale Board of Education (as well as previous Boards) have made wise fiscal management a top priority.  As such, the district has been able to levy the least amount possible while at the same time providing the high-quality services our community demands.  Additionally, the Board has enacted a policy that states the district will maintain a fund balance of 50% of annual expenditures.  This means that if the district experienced a revenue freeze, it would still be able to operate for six months.  Again, this is a smart decision because it allows the district to have the reserves it needs in the event of a crisis, but doesn’t encourage fund balances that are unnecessarily high.  

The district’s current reserves are in the 80% range, so the administration has been developing a plan to responsibly spend down these reserves to align with Board policy.  As you can see in the included chart, we expect to hit the 50% mark in 2022.  As we continue to spend down these reserves, we are also looking for ways to make the district more efficient.  It is our goal that by 2022, our revenues and expenditures will balance and we will maintain a 50% fund balance as required by Board Policy.

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