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Evanston Township High School financial gurus Chief Financial Officer Mary Rodino and Assistant Chief Financial Officer Kendra Williams told School Board members and administrators on Feb. 12 that most revenues and expenditures are on pace with budgeted figures.
The faster collection of property taxes this year is mainly responsible for the revenues coming in as expected or even slightly higher, Ms. Williams said.
Revenues in the Education Fund are at a 46.8% collection rate, slightly higher than last year’s, Ms. Williams said. Expenditures are at 46.3% of the budgeted amount, not quite 1% higher than expenditures at mid-point last year, she said.
The Operations and Maintenance Fund revenues are almost 2% ahead of last year at this time, with 46.4%. Expenditures were 49.2% at mid-year, because of increased needs for carpet replacement and painting, Ms. Williams said.
Transportation expenditures are slightly lower this year because of the reductions in transportation for special education students, with the opening of the Alt School on Hartrey Avenue.
Evidence-based funding is “not lagging,” Ms. Rodino said, although there is continued delay in the receipt of federal funds,
Threats from Springfield have not abated.
“Governor [J.B.] Pritzker is promising a progressive income tax, probably tied to a property tax freeze,” Ms. Rodino said. Since public schools receive about 80% of their funds from property tax revenues, a freeze would slow if not stagnate revenues.
A possible shift from the state to the local school districts of a part of the pension costs is still on the table. “I haven’t heard much activity on it for a while,” Ms. Rodino said, “but we have to have a Plan B.”
There is some good news and some bad. Enrollment at ETHS is “flattening out, which helps us not to have to increase staff,” Ms. Rodino said. The consumer price index, or CPI, which is a factor that limits property tax levies, is higher this year – 2.3%, up from 1.9% – so the District might feel a greater pinch if the freeze comes this year.