The Evanston Township High School District 202 School Board is expected to approve a 345-page tentative budget tonight that is subject to change before final adoption scheduled for September.
In a cover memo from the district’s chief financial officer, Bill Stafford, approval of the tentative budget tonight enables the district to start the new fiscal year on July 1 “with at least the basics of a new budget in place.”
The administration and the board will continue working on the details of the budget through the summer, Stafford wrote, culminating in a public hearing at the Sept. 9 meeting, followed by final approval on Sept. 23.
State law requires the budget process to be completed by the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year, which would be Sept. 30.
“Because property taxes are 84 percent or more of our budgeted revenues,” Stafford said, “it is important to get the tax extension numbers for the levy from Cook County.” These figures are usually available in late August or early September, he added.
While about two-thirds of the school districts in the state are submitting deficit budgets this year, the District 202 budget is balanced for the seventh straight year.
The $77.5 million budget is 2.9 percent more than the budget for the current year, according to Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, and “is the result of tight budgeting and deliberate containment of personnel costs.”
However, he says concern exists over what is not known.
“We do not know what the legislature will finally decide about teacher pensions and what district contributions might be,” he writes in the “executive summary” section of the budget document.
“We do not know if interest rates or consumer prices will increase. Because of this, close monitoring of economic and political events over the next year will be critical.”
The public portion of the meeting tonight is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the high school, 1600 Dodge Ave.