Wilmette School District 39’s 2011-12 fiscal year budget, bolstered by $6.37 million more in referendum-generated property tax revenue, passed without public comment Aug. 21.
The district predicts spending $55.36 million in operations spending this coming year, the lion’s share of it – $47.5 million – in its education fund, which covers most of the district’s daily and educational expenses.
That’s about 1.5 percent higher than last year’s budget, and about 6.8 percent higher than what the district actually spent in 2010-11, thanks to cuts of several million dollars that the board approved last year in an effort to eliminate an operational deficit.
The district also plans to spend $4.38 million in its two non-operating funds; paying down $2.1 million in debt, and spending $2.28 million in state-mandated life and safety work.
On the revenue side, the district expects to bring in $61.39 million, primarily in property taxes, for its operational needs. Again, the largest section of that amount, $53.29 million, is expected to go to the education fund.
Operating revenues are planned to be just over 23 percent higher than those budgeted for 2010-11. That percentage jumps to 24.6 over actual revenue figures, because the district collected fewer revenues last year than it had hoped to.
Administrators initially planned a lower revenue number for this year’s budget. However, they were able to bulk up that column of the balance sheet after district voters last April approved a referendum authorizing a 35-cent per $100 hike in the tax rate.
Business manager Crystal LeRoy said she expects to start seeing the referendum revenue in tax returns Cook County will send the district between October and December.
District officials also expect to bring in $2.17 million in tax revenue for debt repayment, and $739,125 in revenue for life-safety work.
LeRoy also told board members that operating fund balances, which ended the 2010-11 fiscal year at just under $15 million, will rise to roughly $20.6 million at the end of 2011-12 largely because of the healthier revenue stream.
That will translate to reserves of roughly 37 percent of estimated annual spending, safely over the district’s self-administered 30 percent minimum.
The board also approved its separate 2011-12 special education budget on Aug. 21. In previous years, district special education costs and revenues were included in the general budget; state law now requires those to be approved separately.
As planned, the special education operating budget, also known as the Wilmette community special education agreement, features $1.15 million in spending, and $1.15 million in revenue.