COD to dip into reserve funds to balance budget
Updated: July 5, 2012 10:30AM
The College of DuPage will have a balanced budget for its upcoming fiscal year, but will have to dip into its rainy day fund to make the numbers work out.
The newly-approved budget is for July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. The operating fund of the budget, including the general education and operating and maintenance funds, is projected to have $167.9 million in expenses — up just slightly from the last fiscal year — against $165.5 million in revenue. Revenues, although not meeting expenses, are actually projected to be up 1.5 percent.
The fund surplus balance left over from fiscal year 2012 will cover the deficit.
The college faces a number of budget challenges. For starters, there is the financial mess that is the state of Illinois’ own budget. The Illinois Auditor General’s Office recently estimated that the state’s deficit had ballooned to about $43.8 billion, up from $20.7 billion in 2007.
The state’s budget woes mean that school funding at every level took a heavy hit in this year’s budget, with the effect on COD being significant.
College officials said that the state doesn’t even come close to the more than $50 million it should provide the college annually.
The college was on schedule to receive $13 million from the state this year. However, college officials based the new budget on the assumption that the final total will be about $4.3 million short of the state’s promise.
College Vice President for Communications Joe Moore said it is impossible to tell what would happen with state funding.
As for the state’s problem with unfunded pensions, the last few months have been filled with speculation that a portion of school pension liabilities might be shifted back to local schoolss.
Currently, the state picks up the employers part of the health insurance premiums for almost all of the state’s public school teachers.
For COD, shifting some responsibility for pension funding could cost the college as much as $12 million annually.
Finding more revenue for the college is tricky, COD officials said. The alternatives include hiking tuition, or to go to referendum for a tax rate increase, or, on the other side, to cut services, a move the college wants to avoid if possible.
“The intent will be to continue to budget dynamically for sound fiscal performance,” Moore said.