The District 65 School Board approved a final budget for its fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 (FY’20) at its Sept. 23 meeting. The final budget pegs operating revenues at $140.9 million, operating expenses at $135.4 million, and projects that the District will operate at a surplus of about $5.5 million.

The District plans to allocate $1 million of the surplus to increase the cash fund balance, and to set aside the balance into the Referendum Reserve to help balance future projected operating deficits.

The budget numbers need to be considered in the context of the Referendum approved by voters in April 2017. Under the Referendum Plan, the District plans to set aside surpluses generated in FY’18 through FY’21 in a Referendum Reserve, and to use the amounts set aside to balance projected operating deficits in FY’22 to FY’25. The commitment made during the months preceding the Referendum was to balance the District’s budgets for eight years, through FY’25.

Projections prepared by the District show that it is on target to meet that commitment and perhaps be able to balance its budgets through FY’26.

There were some adjustments to the tentative budget that was presented to the Board’s Finance Committee on Aug. 12. The net impact of those changes reduced the budgeted surplus from about $5.9 million to $5.5 million. The RoundTable’s articles regarding the tentative budget and recent projections are available online at

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...