by Renee Goier
Kaneland interim superintendent of schools
“Out of retirement and ready to work on behalf of the children of Kaneland.”
That was my focus in September when the Kaneland Board of Education appointed me interim superintendent. I will fill that role on a part-time basis for this school year. Most of my responsibility will be to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, to ensure that the School District meets all regulations and mandates, and to ensure that students are receiving the best education possible.
One other important task assigned to me by the Board of Education is to assess the status of the district, and to define its strengths and needs. To accomplish that goal, I find myself asking many questions, and many questions are being asked of me. In the remainder of this school year, I hope to publish and post answers to frequently asked questions. Any questions can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School districts are complex entities. They are first and foremost learning institutions that are entrusted with the education of many children. In addition, a school district is often the largest employer in a region. Kaneland schools serve multiple communities, and the board and staff work diligently to meet the expectations of all of those communities. It is often difficult to find the common ground of multiple stakeholders.
School districts are also businesses. This time of year the business of schools is focused on levy, financial projections for the future and preliminary budgets. A question often asked of me is, “How do school districts conduct business?” The answer is complex, so I will approach it in multiple steps and will address only one aspect at this time. Look for more answers to this question in the future.
The business of school districts is highly regulated by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois General Assembly. Much of the work of the school board and administration is determining the best way to meet needs of students while working within regulations and mandates.
School district funds, or revenue, come from three general sources: local, state and federal. In Kaneland, local property taxes and family-paid student fees contribute approximately 80 percent, the state contributes approximately 17 percent, while the Federal government contributes approximately 3 percent.
With regard to spending, our primary costs are related to personnel, which is about 70 percent of the budget. These costs include salaries and benefits for teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, health aides, cooks, secretaries, coaches and administrators. The other 30 percent of the budget is typically spent on supplies and materials; capital projects, such as paving, technology, purchased services including custodians and snow removal; and tuition for students that require special services.
Kaneland has earned the highest financial rating from the state of Illinois. This improvement in rating has been achieved in the last few years through careful financial management and creation of adequate fund balances to meet emergencies.
Stay tuned for answers to questions regarding additional business practices, personnel, board of education responsibilities and programs for students and staff.
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