Key projects include asbestos abatement and carpet replacement at the junior high, which will take place next summer, and the gym floor replacement at Westmoor School, which is being completed this summer.
The remainder of the shortfall is due to a multi-year agreement with Northbrook Court that refunds some property taxes paid in previous years in exchange for a not seeking refunds for other years, both in the past and in the future.
Among the spending increases are costs for new staff, employee benefit cost increases and a new bus contract. Staff increases include an administrator to develop the Educational Life Skills program for special education students, an additional position to support the early childhood program and a part-time special education teacher to meet needs of students.
The spending plan was crafted with an eye on the low Consumer Price Index. For the second year in a row, the CPI is below 1 percent. District property tax revenues are tied to the CPI or 5 percent, whichever is less. Some increase in property tax revenue is coming from newly developed property that has been added to the tax base. Investment income is also increasing slightly. Conversely, state revenue is uncertain. Last year, the District received only two of four state categorical grant payments, which help fund special education, transportation and English Learner programs.
“We strive to be as conservative as possible while maintaining our programs and buildings at the level to which our community has come to expect,” Superintendent Dr. Larry Hewitt said.
The budget is on display on the District website and available for review in the District office until the September 19 meeting, when the Board will vote to adopt the budget.