District 204's tentative budget includes $16 million for capital improvements
A $402 million tentative budget for Indian Prairie Unit District 204 includes the largest capital investment in the district since the construction of Metea Valley High School finished in 2009.
After seeing glimpses of the proposed 2022-23 budget in previous meetings, District 204 school board members were given a more complete look this week. Officials say the spending plan achieves district goals to reduce class sizes for younger students, increase mental health and special education support and bring a $16 million jolt to capital improvement projects.
The balanced budget includes more than $305 million raised through property taxes and calls for more than $307 million in spending on employee salaries and benefits.
The school board will vote on the budget Aug. 22. The fiscal year runs July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023.
District 204, the state's fourth-largest school district, serves 26,000 students in Aurora, Bolingbrook, Naperville and Plainfield.
According to Matt Shipley, the district's chief school business official, the construction projects will be paid for by a combination of funds, including grant money. The $16 million is $3 million more than the projection provided to the board in May.
The district is receiving $1.5 million in capital grants, which will be dedicated to renovating nine to 12 playgrounds.
"This is the largest capital investment since the district was building schools," Shipley said. "We're excited about this being a priority and being able to allocate resources."
Among the ongoing and planned projects, according to Superintendent Adrian Talley, is air conditioning work in school media centers, asphalt paving on parking lots, tennis court renovation at the three high schools and masonry repairs at five schools. Remodeling of the family and consumer science labs at the three high schools is also underway.
Talley said an additional update on construction projects will be given in September.
"Suffice it to say that this is good for us to have this work being done," he said.
Shipley said a facility master plan, the district's first since 2014, will be completed in 2023 and will outline short-term and long-range assessments for what needs to be done at district schools.
"We'll kind of be working down parallel tracks," Shipley said, "as far as we'll be doing that process for the 10-year plan while we're also prioritizing what we're looking to do over the next six to 12 months."