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Education

Security upgrades, maintenance vehicles part of Sycamore School District 427 budget talks

Nicole Stuckert, chief financial officer for Sycamore School District 427, talks about various proposed budget items for fiscal 2020 during a board meeting Tuesday at Sycamore Middle School.
Nicole Stuckert, chief financial officer for Sycamore School District 427, talks about various proposed budget items for fiscal 2020 during a board meeting Tuesday at Sycamore Middle School.

SYCAMORE – New maintenance vehicles. A new districtwide security camera system. More staff members.

Those were some of the budget items that were proposed for fiscal 2020 during the Sycamore School District 427 Board meeting Tuesday night at Sycamore Middle School.

Nicole Stuckert, chief financial officer for the district, said it would cost a total of $191,802 to buy two new pickup trucks with plows, a dump truck with a plow and a new lawnmower. She said the security camera system would cost the district $250,000, with $40,000 of that going to Sycamore High School.

Stuckert said another proposed project included $100,000 project to fix potholes and other deterioration in the Sycamore High School auditorium parking lot.

“It’s a mess, and that is something we would look to put out to bid to get done this summer,” Stuckert said.

Stuckert said the district has been holding off on repairs for the lawnmower and dump truck, which have been out of commission for months, because the district already has dumped a lot of money for repairs into those vehicles as is. She said the district is at a point where it now can justify buying new equipment.

Board member Eric Jones said he wanted more information on what necessitates the $250,000 for the proposed security camera project and what that the district would be gaining. He also said he wanted more information on alternative costs to repairing the current maintenance and dump trucks and lawnmower, as opposed to outright buying new ones.

“So we have options aside from not doing anything,” Jones said.

Superintendent Kathy Countryman said the proposed personnel budget includes six new staff members at various education levels within the district. She said there are no proposed changes to administrative staff within the fiscal 2020 personnel budget after looking at student needs.

“We just didn’t feel like it would be an appropriate recommendation at this time,” Countryman said.

Stuckert said board policy states that a strong reserves fund is 25 percent of the budget. She said the fund dropped to 15 percent in 2017; however, the district is projected to be up to 20 percent in 2019.

“I think that, looking forward, we’re moving in the right direction,” Stuckert said.

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