D65 spending to increase 6%

Joseph E. Hill Education Center.

The Evanston School District 65 School Board Finance Committee is scheduled Monday night to review a tentative budget of $141.6 million, 4% more than last year’s budget and 6% more than last year’s actual spending.

A staff memo says the increase is due to contractual pay hikes, new positions, higher student transportation expenditures, additional building repair and maintenance costs and one-time expenditures for software, security cameras and textbooks.

The budget includes 15.45 new positions, with almost 10 of those added due to student enrollment and needs. Other positions “support district’s priorities and create efficiencies in the district’s operations.” About 76% of the budget will be spent on salaries and benefits.

The largest budget increases are due increases in debt service, capital expenses, installation of security cameras for middle schools and a 7% increase in transportation costs, which the district hopes to reduce by using ZUM transportation to replace some taxi cab charges. 

The district’s financial rating from the state Board of Education has improved to Financial Recognition, the best possible rating, last achieved by the district in 2007-08. 

According to the staff memo, the district’s average cost per pupil was $14,266 in FY18, higher than the statewide average of $13,337 but lower than $16,201 in Skokie, $15,225 in Wilmette or $14,299 in Oak Park.

The finance committee will meet at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave., at 5 p.m. 

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