Evanston District 65 school board members will be told tonight that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic they’re facing a $4.3 million revenue shortfall in the budget for the fiscal year that starts in July.

In a memo prepared for the board’s Finance Committee meeting tonight, Business Manager Kathy Zalewski says the revenue gap is forecast based on expected reduced property tax collections, mostly from idle businesses and vacant commercial property, combined with lower investment income.

The $4.3 million shortrfall would amount to about 3 percent of the $142.1 million in expenditures the district budgeted for in its current year budget.

Zalewski says COVID-19 may also blow a $1.5 million hole in this year’s budget — with lower investment income and reduced lunch sales, childcare and student fees.

She says state aid payments may also be delayed

In planning for next school year, Zalewski says the administration plans to leave vacant positions unfilled and freeze most non-instructional personnel hiring, renegotiate service contracts, reduce consulting and professional development costs and delay some capital expenditures. 

The budget for the coming school year is scheduled to be presented to the Finance Committee next month and to the full board in August.

Tonight’s board meeting at 7 p.m. will be conducted using the Zoom conferencing system. The meeting link is and the password is 050420. A packet with information about the agenda items is available on the district’s website.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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