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D161 Board Approves Financial Planning Software

The new program will grant the district increased flexibility when updating its long-term financial plan.

The Summit Hill School District 161 Board of Education voted to enter into a contract with PMA Financial Network for a long-range financial planning software at a meeting Wednesday evening.

“It will help us with more accurate planning,” said Superintendent Barb Raines, in an interview with Patch.

The financial planning program software allows for flexibility in district financial projections. With the new software, district representatives can configure a long-range district financial plan instantaneously. The software also allows the district to continuously update a ten-year or five-year plan to align with shifts in fund availability.

For the past decade, the district used a STRAT Plan financial planning system. The STRAT Plan was a hard copy paper plan that represented a snapshot from a particular financial moment in time, which was then used as the basis for the district’s ten-year fiscal projection.

Economic, enrollment and contractual changes frequently impacted the accuracy of the STRAT Plan, said Raines.

The PMA software will cost the district $8,500 per year. Previously, the district paid $10,000 for each initial ten-year STRAT Plan and $7,500 for every subsequent plan update.

Director of Special Education Bridget Nolan said that the district could soon be home to a preschool in an interview with Patch following Wednesday’s meeting.

100 district families indicated interest in a tuition-based preschool as part of a recent Summit Hill parent survey.

“It would give students early exposure to the concepts and increase readiness for kindergarten,” said Nolan.

The preschool would operate at no cost to the district and would offer a curriculum in alignment with the Common Core State Standards expectations for kindergarten.

Nolan said that similar preschools have been introduced successfully to school districts in Plainfield and Naperville.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board accepted financial gifts totaling approximately $35,000 from Summit Hill School Community Organizations.

“I just cannot believe how much has been generated,” said School Board President Mary Kenny. “Thank you so much.”

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