The public has one last chance tonight to comment on the current year’s budget for the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 before the Board gives its final approval.
This is the last “easy” budget for awhile, as administration officials have been warning that the budget will be several million dollars in deficit the next several years unless either new revenues are found or drastic cuts are made.
The public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the start of the board’s regular monthly meeting at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave. Then final approval is the first action item on the board’s agenda, following the consent agenda.
Under state law, the board must give final approval of a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 before the end of September.
It would mark the 15th consecutive year of balanced budgets for the district. It calls for revenues of $114,294,380 and expenses of $114,221,212 in the operating budget. Complete budget details are contained on the district’s website.
Deficits are projected to begin next year at $4.6 million, swelling to $10.7 million in FY 21, due primarily to rising salaries and tax caps that mandate a limit on property tax rates.
While deficits of this magnitude are unlikely to occur if the superintendents' warnings are heeded, they are a measure of the substantial work that lies ahead for board members, school administrators, teachers, state legislators, and community leaders in crafting budgets for upcoming years.