High operating expenses and expenditures resulted in a drop of financial score in their 2011 financial year audit. The district had previously enjoyed a perfect 4.0, but the score was changed to a 3.3.
David Cain, a CPA at Villa Park’s Milburn Cain & Co., shared the results of the audit with Avoca’s board of education at their November meeting.
“You have been expending more than you have been taking in,” he said. “That gradually drags your reserves down, and if you continue that, you will drop your rank.”
While much of last year’s deficits were due to significant capital items paid for by the district’s operations and maintenance fund, Cain noted that the operating expenses per pupil increased by $1,400 per student between 2010 and 2011. Much of this change can be ascribed to the district’s loss of 40 pupils during the same time period. If the student number had stayed the same, Cain said the student cost increase would have only been $269.
Board member Joel H. Raynes asked Cain if they should be concerned about the district’s financial score, but Cain said he was not worried.
“I expected to see another 4.0,” he said.
The numbers did upset Glenview resident Charlotte Aines, who came armed with a list of statistics about the district’s spending. She said that Avoca’s expenses per pupil are in the top 15 of all schools in Illinois.
“The current and historical rate of growth of the district’s expenses, compared to the projected revenue growth, is fiscally unsustainable,” she said.
Board President Jeffrey A. Greengoss interrupted her statement to ask if Aines had a question and she finished by quoting from a draft of the board’s legacy statement that “The board will demonstrate fiscal responsibility for our community during these difficult economic times.”
“In light of this legacy statement, I’d like to ask the board what cost containment measures they are pursuing for the future, or can the community expect the deficits to continue?” she asked.
“We’re always looking for cost containment measures, despite all the statistics you put forward,” Greengoss said. “We have a lot of lines in our budget. It’s easy to pick and choose and take shots at us.”
Board member Sherry Wallingford said that the board was unprepared to answer the question, and urged Aines to stay involved in the process. After the meeting had adjourned board vice president Roseanne Ullman noted that the language on fiscal responsibility did not actually make it into the official legacy statement.