A Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) in Deerfield is beginning its work of studying a possible school operating referendum.

The CAC is meant to evaluate district needs, survey the community, and advise the Deerfield School Board about a possible operating referendum, said a press release from committee member Sarah Hart.

The committee of eleven members had its first meeting on Feb. 4, to discuss the district’s financial history and set goals.

The district currently has an operating referendum, which went into effect in 2016 and sunsets June 30, 2020. Operating referendums allow school districts to exceed revenue limits and levy additional funds from taxpayers to cover costs.

Deerfield has had several referendums in the past. The school district had a five-year operating referendum that began in 2008, and a four-year operating referendum starting in 2013.

Since 2008, all referendums have allowed the district to exceed the revenue limit by $400,000 per year, for the length of the referendum.

The current referendum assisted with operations, as well as funded a fitness center addition to Deerfield High School, safety upgrades and stadium remodels like new bleachers and concessions building, the statement said.

Without a new operating referendum, the district expects a $291,000 budget shortfall in the 2020-2021 school year, the statement said. That amount, said Business Manager Doreen Treuden, is based off an estimated 1.36 percent increase in expenditures in 2021.

“In addition to rising costs, there is a need to continually improve curriculum, update and replace technology, increase security, replace classroom supplies, and make improvements to the buildings,” the release said.

The committee has two upcoming meetings, both at Deerfield High School, 300 Simonson Blvd., in the FACE Room. The first meeting, on Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. will include a walking tour of both Deerfield school buildings to evaluate facility needs.

There will also be a Feb. 25 meeting at 5:30 p.m., also in the FACE room at Deerfield High School.

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