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On Sept. 26, the District 65 School Board approved a budget for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 (FY ‘12), that pegs operating revenues at $105.5 million, up $3.3 million, or 3.2% over the prior year. Operating expenses are pegged at $104.7 million, up $4 million, or 4% over the prior year. The budget projects an operating surplus of $856,081.

The District is budgeting for an increase of 240 students this year over last year (not including Park, Rice and pre-kindergarten students), and an increase of 22 additional teaching and support positions due to higher enrollment and the inclusion initiative.

If capital expenditures are thrown into the equation, the total expenses for FY’12 are $134.7 million. 

The District is reporting on an unaudited basis that it will finish the prior year ending June 30, 2011,  with an operating surplus of about $1.6 million. The District’s cash balance, on an unaudited basis, at June 30, 2011 was $20.5 million, or about 74 days of operating expenses.

 Kathy Zalewski, comptroller for the District, also presented revised projections dated Sept. 14, which show deficits for the subsequent four years in the amounts of $3.3 million (FY’13), $4.1 million (FY’14), $6.4 million (FY’15), and $8.7 million (FY’16).

A Citizens Ad Hoc Budget Committee has been formed to make recommendations about ways to address the projected deficits. The 24-member Committee began meeting on Sept. 6. On Sept. 20, District staff presented data concerning salary and benefit expenses that account for about 84 percent of the District’s operating expense. In the next two meetings the District plans to present data concerning other expenses and sources of revenue. The Committee will then begin to explore ways to address the deficits. The Committee is scheduled to make recommendations toward the end of the year.

For more information about this year’s budget, see the article “School District 65 Tentatively Budgets $104 Million in Operating Expenses for FY’12,” available at evanstonroundtable.com.

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...