The Oak Park Elementary District 97 Board of Education recently approved a budget for 2019-20 that features a $3.2 million surplus, according to district officials. 

“Excluding bond proceeds and capital expenses paid from bond proceeds,” wrote Rob Grossi, D97’s financial consultant in a Sept. 18 memo, the budget reflects total revenues of $102.3 million and total expenditures of $99.9 million. 

During a Sept. 24 regular meeting, where the D97 school board unanimously approved the budget, Grossi explained that salaries will increase by 5.8 percent this year due to increased staffing and collective bargaining agreements.

“Employee benefits will increase by about 2.4 percent due to modest increases in health insurance premiums,” Grossi said. “All other expense types are projected to increase by 5.6 percent due to an increased focus on enhancing programs and aligning more expenditures with the evidence-based funding formula.” 

Grossi added that the district is projecting property taxes to increase by $6.8 million, which “doesn’t mean that the district raised taxes by $6.8 million this year; it’s the timing of when the payments are received.” This is largely because property tax collections straddle fiscal years, Grossi said. 

For instance, during the 2018 fiscal year, the district received tax payments in the fall of 2017 and the spring of 2018. 

“We’re projecting the district will receive one final [tax increment financing] payment of $1.6 million during this fiscal year,” Grossi said, adding that the board will make a final decision on its tax levy in December. 

OPRF board approves budget

The District 200 Board of Education unanimously approved its fiscal year 2020 budget at a regular meeting on Sept. 26. The budget reflects $78.7 million in total revenues — a 7 percent decrease in spending from the 2019 fiscal year. Total expenditures in the 2020 budget are $90.8 million. 

The discrepancy between total revenues and total expenditures is mainly due to a $12 million capital outlay related to phase one construction projects outlined in the district’s long-term facilities plan. 

Oak Park and River Forest High School officials said property tax revenue is budgeted to drop by $6.4 million from fiscal year 2019 due to the timing of the district’s property tax abatement, which was required in order for it qualify for a property tax relief grant. This fiscal year, the district will get $3.8 million as part of that grant. 

The district will also receive one final tax increment financing payment of $1.4 million. 


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