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On Sept. 21, the District 65 School Board unanimously approved a budget for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 that pegs operating revenues at $95.5 million, up $7.2 million, or 8 percent, over the previous year. Operating expenses are projected at $95.4 million, up $5.4 million, or 6 percent, over the previous year. The operating budget is balanced, with a projected surplus of about $50,000.

Kathy Zalewski, comptroller, said the District will add 13.8 new teaching positions and an additional assistant principal at Haven Middle School, and that the District’s program offering will remain stable. Three additional teaching positions were added since the Board approved a tentative budget on Aug. 17, due to higher than expected student enrollment.

The District is reporting, on an unaudited basis, that it finished the 2008-09 school year with an operating deficit of $1.7 million. At fiscal year ending June 30, 2009, the District had a cash balance of about $18.9 million in its operating funds (which includes $12.2 million in the working cash fund). The cash reserves in the District’s operating funds are equivalent to about 73 days operating expenses.

Capital Expenditures

The tentative budget projects capital expenditures of about $13.5 million toward building improvements and technology projects. About $11.5 million of the capital expenditures will be paid out of the proceeds of bonds issued last year to fund capital improvements and technology. About $1 million of the building improvements will be funded with an air quality grant.

The budget projects the District will pay about $11.2 million in debt service, which will be funded through property taxes. As of June 30, 2009, the District had outstanding debt of about $46 million.

Projected Deficits

For the next four years (FY 2010 – 2014), School District 65 is projecting deficits of $475,000, $4.1 million, $5.8 million and $7.6 million, for a cumulative total for those years of about $18 million, said Ms. Zalewski at the Board’s Finance Committee meeting on Sept. 21.

The Board’s Finance Committee began to review non-personnel expenditures on Sept. 14, as a first step in a plan to analyze ways to address the projected deficits.

For more in-depth articles on the budget and projected deficits, see the Aug. 19 issue of the RoundTable.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...