Avoca School District 37 expects to outspend revenue in its education fund this year by about $152,000, a deficit school administrators attribute largely to a social studies curriculum purchase that was carried over from last year.
The School Board is eying a $14.2 million budget that shows total outlays rising by 4 percent. Expenses in the $11.5 million education fund are rising largely as a result of pay raises written into a new teachers’ contract with the Avoca Education Association. The five-year agreement, which runs through mid 2015, gives many teachers raises of 6 percent a year.
The district is trimming staff by two positions, a teaching assistant at Avoca West School and a reading specialist at Marie Murphy School.
School officials expect the education fund deficit will be partly offset by slight surpluses in other funds, paring the total deficit to $56,000. If predictions hold, Avoca District 37 would close out the year in mid 2012 with reserves of $10.1 million, or about 71 percent of annual spending.
The district’s revenue from property taxes will be reined in by a 2.7 percent property tax cap, a figure that corresponds to the Consumer Price Index for 2009. The School Board tacked on two percentage points when it adopted its $11.4 million tax levy last year to capture any new development that is added to the tax rolls.
“We always put in a higher figure, just in case,” said Beth Dever, the district’s business manager. “But we rarely get over one percent in new growth.”
The tentative budget assumes a tax collection rate of 96.5 percent, after the Cook County Treasurer deducts tax refunds owed to taxpayers who waged successful appeals before the Illinois Property Tax Appeals Board or the county’s tax court.
Avoca receives relatively little in state aid, because it is a rich school district with $1 million in taxable property backing each of its 600-plus students. The budget is built on the assumption the state will make four of the categorical aid payments tied to special education, even though the state still owes two payments, totaling about $120,000, for the 2010-11 school year.
The budget, which covers the year that started July 1, will be the focus of a public hearing at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Community Room at Marie Murphy School, 2921 Illinois Road, Wilmette. The School Board is expected to adopt the budget during its meeting starting at 6:30 p.m.