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Oak Lawn 229 To Revamp Camera System

Oak Lawn Community High School is revamping its surveillance camera systems with more coverage and better technology.

The announcement was made at the Oak Lawn Community High School 229 board meeting on Nov. 3.

With $175,000 allocated in this year’s budget for the upgrade, the base bid of $172,000 would provide 112 cameras that would cover a majority of the school, both inside and out.

While the bid was within the budget, Assistant Superintendent Richard Hendricks said the school might be able to lower the price by $25,000 if it purchases the servers separately. The money would come from the IT budget and would cost $10,000 less.

Because the system is Web-based, all emergency responders, including the Oak Lawn Police Department, will be able to have direct access to them, stated Hendricks.

The next item for review was the district’s financial audit.

The audit is meant to check internal spending and to determine if the school spent more than $500,000 in federal funds.

ÒThe auditors did not issue any management letters, which means there were no ‘red flags’ in terms of internal spending,” explained Hendricks.

The board then began to discuss the district’s annual financial profile report.

This is a way for the Illinois Board of Education to assess the financial positions of school districts throughout the state.

The profile uses various indicators such as a district’s expenditure to revenue ratio and how much short-term borrowing ability it has.

Oak Lawn received a 3.55 out of a possible 4.0. The two areas that did not receive perfect scores were Expenditures to Revenue Ratio and Days Cash on Hand.

The district was docked for finishing the 2010-11 school year with a smaller than hoped for surplus and having 93 days worth of cash on hand rather than the ideal 180 days explained Hendricks.

While the school did not get a perfect score, it did receive ÒRecognition,” the highest financial category recognized by the state.

Though the school board approved the 2011-12 budget in September, discussion about the 2012-13 budget development calendar dates are underway.

Tax levies will be approved by the end of the year, and by March 1, 2012, the board will discuss staffing, facility improvement, budget guidelines, and assumptions for the following school year. By May 3, the board should approve a preliminary budget.

The board then has until July 5 to approve a tentative budget. By the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, the board will hold a public hearing and actually approve the budget.

In terms of this year’s estimated tax levy, the district will most likely receive $20.9 million, a 1.5 percent increase from last year. This number is based on the consumer price index.

The board, however, will be asked to approve a tax levy for $21.6 million, a slightly larger amount that will probably be rejected because of tax caps.

In one of its final items on the agenda, Superintendent Michael Riordan returned to the Speech Team’s request to reinstate a coaching position that was cut after last year’s budget reduction.

While the board acknowledged the team’s high level of success and sympathized with the coaches and team members, it ultimately agreed that every sport or extracurricular activity was negatively impacted by the budget cuts. To reinstate a coaching/sponsor position in one activity would be unfair to the rest of the school’s clubs.

The board did agree to revisit the point at the end of the year, however.

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