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September 25, 2014

Centennial Budgeting: How does the school spend our money?

by Ginny Martinez

Co-authored by Austin Westray

In the midst of seasons changing and the extreme sporadic weather of Champaign, it has made Centennial either the Sahara desert, or the Antarctic, with not much in between. Even in the first month of school, students have went from feeling like they were going to pass out from a combination of humidity, hotness, and general body odor lurking in the hallways, to feeling like walking ice cubes – possibly catching hypothermia or mild frostbite. This has everything to do with Centennial’s inefficient air conditioning system and it has left students irritated, uncomfortable, and very, very chilly.


This poses an interesting question: who is really in control of this? How much money actually goes to turning on the air conditioning or fixing the ceiling panels with the mysterious liquid that drips from them? Where does all the money come from – and more importantly, where does it go? Centennial’s principal, Greg Johnson, sat down with The Centinal to discuss the big business: budgeting.
In terms of money, Johnson is in charge, with assistance from Martha Odell. Johnson decides where the money needs to go and Odell follows through. The budget, consisting of 190 thousand dollars, is broken up into all of the academic departments along with professional development.Stock with paper
Breaking the budget down, money goes to stuff like our textbooks, “and paper,” Johnson added with a hint of annoyance, “and more paper…and more paper…and more paper.” While 190K may seem like a lot of money, copy paper is apparently one of the biggest and often unexpected expenses of Centennial at a whopping 10 thousand dollars each year. These ‘little’ things tend to add up and cause a considerable dent in the budget.
The largest expense of the whole Unit 4 School District is salaries. This, however, is not a part of Centennial’s budget. The District also paid for the new Google Chromebooks recently purchased, and Centennial personally pays to repair some of them when they break.
The Centinal decided to find some real answers: the logic behind Centennial’s air conditioning. Johnson explained that the air conditioning is very old, and the sometimes moldy ceiling panels come from the unit. “The system has a hard time keeping up because the hallways aren’t designed to be air conditioned.” Johnson says. When teachers leave their doors open, the air conditioning is trying to heat up the large foyers, with no success. That’s why on hot summer days, the air conditioning just isn’t enough. In terms of why the school can get so cold, it is because the air conditioning rarely gets turned off. “Shutting down the system is fine,” Johnson explained, “turning it back on is a massive pain in the butt.” The air conditioning takes a long time to start back up, so turning it off almost never happens until administration is sure the hot days are over and winter has started.
The Champaign Unit 4 District takes charge over maintenance issues, such as our air conditioning, so unfortunately a new system seems out of our reach. Johnson is hopeful that the renovation referendum will pass, and with it will come new technology and maintenance for the school that has the possibly to begin as early as this Spring. The referendum for new schools will not impact Centennial’s building budget, because it will be funded by tax payer’s money. Now, all Centennial staff and students can do is wait anxiously in hope of the community’s approval.

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