Now that a new four-year contract has been negotiated with teachers at Evanston/Skokie District 65 schools, the budget for this school year needs to be tweaked before final approval next week.

Details of the proposed adjustments were presented to the board’s Finance Committee Tuesday night.

Revised financial projections for the next few fiscal years were described as “extremely favorable” by the district’s chief financial officer Mary Brown.

“We were able to settle our (District Educator’s Council) contract, we were able to offer more services and programs, we were able to do more with prepayments, and we are in just a favorable position,” she told the committee.

Additional teachers and the approved pay increase from the contract negotiations upped the salaries budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year by $243,000, but the biggest adjustment came on the revenue side, where projected corporate personal property replacement tax revenues were reduced by $300,000, due to a statutory requirement to pay replacement tax to businesses from the personal property tax replacement fund.

“At this point,, we do not know if this adjustment is a one-time adjustment or will be carried into the subsequent years,” wrote Comptroller Kathy Zalewski  in an accompanying memo.

Other revenue adjustments include an increase in Other Local Revenues related to a TIF surplus payment from the City of Evanston, as well as additional adjustments to the amount of General State Aid and state and federal grants.

On the expense side, there were additional expenditures for student materials, student athletic uniforms, student transportation services, playground equipment (funded by grants) and Park School.

The bottom line shows revenues of $102,188 and expenses of $101,788, resulting in a budget surplus of $399,424, compared with a $941,985 surplus in the tentative budget.

On a related budget issue, CFO Brown noted that the district’s funds available from debt service are now estimated at $19.5 million, compared with the earlier estimate of $14.9 million, thanks to lower interest rates, a development she called “a nice change in a favorable direction.”

This change gives the district more breathing room when it comes to financing capital projects.

The public hearing on the 2012-13 budget will be held on Sept. 24, immediately preceding the Board’s regular monthly meeting, where final budget approval is on the agenda.

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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