Batavia school board OKs 2023 budget, expected to have $1.5M surplus

Batavia School District 101

The Batavia School District 101 board voted to adopt its budget for fiscal 2023 during its Sept. 20 meeting.

The budget has a surplus of $1.5 million.

“Our overall surplus has moved from just over $1 million to $1.5 million,” CFO Anton Inglese said. “I would note that $1.5 million surplus is a little deceiving as the vast majority of that surplus, $1 million, is in non-operating funds. It’s really from funding capital projects and not spending all that money in the current fiscal year.”

Inglese said total revenue went up 8.2% to $133 million, but expenditures also went up 11.8% to $132 million.

“While the budget is balanced, our revenues are not quite keeping pace with our expenditures and that gives us cause for concern,” he said.

Inglese said the district received an additional $1 million in corporate property replacement taxes last year.

“The Illinois Department of Revenue is telling us we can anticipate that continuing forward in the current fiscal year,” he said. “But if the state of Illinois economy takes a turn, that money will take a turn, too.”

Also at the Sept. 20 meeting, the board approved a change in medical insurance providers for district staff.

“This is really a big deal,” Inglese said. “We’re moving from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Healthgram in the Cigna network. What that affords us to do is it offers better service. It’s more of a health care concierge rather than leaving each member of the plan to their own devices when it comes to consuming care.”

The district’s insurance contracts are renewed annually, according to meeting documents. Board documents show the district will save $104,000 on administrative costs and a projected savings of $210,000 from claims for a total savings of more than $300,000.

“What’s really important to notice is that we’re not increasing the plan premiums this year for both the employees and the board, which to my knowledge has never happened,” Inglese said. “In light of what’s happening right now in the insurance market, I do know that fully insured plans right now with Blue Cross Blue Shield are looking at 20% increases for the upcoming year.”

“It’s great that we’re finally seeing this, but it took years for us to get here,” board member Chris Lowe said. “I’m glad that we finally got here, but the things we are deciding today we may not actually see for months or years.”

Board President Cathy Dremel said health care costs were a major cause for concern for the district and said the new plan balances the “very best health care benefits for our employees with making it as cost-effective as possible.”

“We were on a path to literally bankruptcy with our health care costs,” she said.