Evanston Township High School board members approved a tentative budget for the next school year Monday night that calls for a 4.9% increase in spending to just under $105 million.

School officials say the operating expenses in the new budget are increasing by 6.3% because of inflationary increases in most expenses.

To compensate for that, they’ve cut projected capital improvement spending to $3 million — less than half of the anticipated $6.4 million in expected capital fund revenue.

Chief Financial Officer Kendra Williams presented the tentative budget, which covers the fiscal year starting July 1.

Under state rules for school boards, the final budget is scheduled to be adopted in September, after property tax assessments for the coming year are determined, and after a required public hearing.

Board members congratulated Williams, saying she’s helped keep the district’s finances among the strongest in the state with a Aaa bond rating.

Under state law the district’s property tax levy, which amounts to about 80% of the budget is limited to a 5% annual increase, or the actual increase in the consumer price index, whichever is less.

Williams said that under the state’s Evidence-Based Funding model, state aid to the district is expected to remain flat.  

Most of the district’s spending is allocated to salaries and benefits for its employees. The funding document’s preamble states that “(t)his budget is the result of conservative budgeting and deliberate containment of personnel costs, most of which are determined by contractual obligations.”

A budget memo from Superintendent Marcus Campbell provided a long list of strategies to implement goals adopted by the school board, but Williams said that overall “we are having to do more with less.”

Desiree Shannon relocated to Evanston in 2022 from Columbus, Ohio. She has a journalism degree from Otterbein College of Ohio. During her undergraduate studies, she completed an internship with the Washington...

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