On Sept. 23, the District 65 School Board unanimously approved a final budget for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 (FY ’14). Operating revenues are projected at $106.1 million, up 3.5 percent over the prior year. Operating expenses are projected at $105 million, up 2.9 percent over the prior year.

The operating budget has a surplus of approximately $1.1 million, said Kathy Zalewski, comptroller for the District. The District plans to prepay approximately $900,000 in expenses in FY’14 that become due in FY’15, so the surplus after those prepayments will be about $181,000, she said.

The final budget builds in the cost of 12 additional teaching positions, six additional assistant principals, three additional teacher’s aides, 1.5 additional positions in the information services department, and one for business support staff.  The District will be able to reduce costs in several other areas by adding these positions, said Ms. Zalewski. 

Ms. Zalewski also presented revised financial projections that show a surplus of $75,615 for FY’15, and then deficits of $1.8 million in FY’16, $3.5 million in FY’17 and $5.2 million in FY’18. The projections do not include any amount on the expense side for the possibility that the State legislature may shift teacher pension costs to school districts.

At a Board Finance Committee meeting on Sept. 16, Chairman Richard Rykhus said the Committee would review budget management strategies on a regular basis in light of the projected deficits. On Sept. 16, the Committee reviewed the amount of unpaid fees for activities, bus transportation and childcare, and the District’s procedures to collect fees. The Committee also reviewed the procedures in place to ensure that students attending District 65 schools reside within the District.

For additional information on the FY’14 budget, see articles in the May 23, July 3 and Aug. 29 issues 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...