The Finance Committee of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board will begin discussions Monday night of a draft of the operating and capital budgets for the next fiscal year.

It happens every year at this time, by examining the actual results of the current fiscal year and using those actuals to plan for the year ahead, augmented by new enrollment projections.

In a memo to the committee, the district’s comptroller, Kathy Zalewski, estimates that the operating budget for the current budget year will end with a surplus of $122,394, or $529,394, before prepayments of expenses for next year, compared with a budgeted surplus of $399,425.

When the district actually ends the year with a surplus, the district uses that opportunity to prepay expenses, such as insurance, repairs, and maintenance, that are incurred for the following year in order to reduce the expenses required for the upcoming  year.

As for next year, revenues are projected to increase by about 3 percent, while expenditures are expected to increase by about 2 percent.

Looking ahead, the administration is projecting surpluses in the budget for the next two fiscal years before deficits begin to kick in for the next three years, giving the board a bit of breathing room before taking actions needed to bring those budgets into balance.

It’s all very complicated, particularly when considering the fact that the operating budget is but one of five funds to be considered in the overall budget.

Non-operating funds include life safety, debt service, capital improvement, and technology projects, each of which has its own set of revenue and expense accounts.

As for enrollment, which is nearly complete for next year, the district is projecting 7,171 students, compared to actual enrollment to date of 7,093, but that number will continue to edge higher throughout the summer months.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Assistant principals

    I've heard that the school district is in the process of hiring 5-6 assistant principals.  Is that what they plan to do with their surplus?  I think the money should be put back in the school for our students and programs that would benefit them.  If this is true about the hiring of assistant principals, what is their rationale?

  2. Yes it’s true …

    I believe they are hiring at least three. If it is on the agenda they should announce it tomorrow night. Whatever they  do, it must be approved by the board. I also think it has to do with in increasing  enrollment. Having 2 administrators is always helpful in running a school with over 500 children and 40+ teachers. 

    Not sure about hiring 5-6. I think that depends on the budget and the needs of the schools. I wonder how they are deciding about which schools need AP's. 

    1. Hire outstanding principals & review current structure

      If D65 hired outstanding principals, there would be less need for more assistant principals.

      Some schools in our district may warrant assistant principals – Chute, Nichols & Haven.

      Hiring more people may not be the answer.

      How many times have you attended D65 meetings and there are 6-8 people in the room? Do all the administrators and teachers really need to be there? If you hire more people that means more people will attend the meetings to justify their jobs.

      Review, rethink, and reorganize how current resources are deployed. Maybe use technology differently or more effectively.


  3. Accounting gimmickry

    How about spending a small sliver of those impressive cash-basis "surpluses" on adopting the nationally recommended accounting standards?  One audit may put this in a whole new light…

    1. A question

      What are the nationally recognized accounting standards you mention?  Are they different from the  audit that D65 conducts  every year.?

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