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updated: 8/16/2011 5:20 PM

District 59 facing nearly $2 million deficit

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Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 school board recently approved spending roughly $94 million for the 2011-2012 academic year.

The plan includes a nearly $2 million deficit that will be covered out of the district's roughly $100 million reserve, district spokeswoman Betsy Boswell said.

"It was considerably larger last year," Boswell said referring to a $12 million deficit in the 2010-2011 academic year.

That was due to the district undertaking major renovations and additions at three schools: Juliette Low, Ridge Family Center for Learning and Rupley Elementary.

The work included an eight-classroom addition at Juliette Low completed last school year, a new gymnasium, two new classrooms and renovated multipurpose room at Ridge, and a new multipurpose room and revamped front office at Rupley, which opens next week.

District revenues for the 2011 school year are expected to be little more than $92 million, officials said in a released statement.

The projected deficit is largely due to anticipated shortfalls in state revenue, and increased expenditures to expand technology at the junior high schools and to complete renovations at the two Elk Grove Village schools: Ridge and Rupley.

The last time the district had a budgeted surplus of more than $1 million was in the 2008-2009 school year. In the 2009-2010 academic year, the district had a roughly $3 million deficit due to property tax refunds and state revenues being down, Boswell said.

The district won't realize $1.8 million in property tax revenue during the 2011 school year because of property tax refunds issued for assessments reduced on appeal.

"Local dollars provide the most reliable and stable funding sources for our schools," Ruth Gloede, assistant superintendent for business services, said in a released statement.

Local sources make up roughly 86 percent of the district's revenue, while 9 percent comes from the state and roughly 5 percent from federal sources.

"Stability and reliability are critical when you're talking about providing educational services for children, and the community can see their dollars at work in their neighborhood schools," Gloede wrote. "Nonlocal resources tend to be more restrictive and less reliable, especially given the current status of state and federal finances."

The 2011-2012 budget covers education, operations and maintenance, capital projects, transportation and retirement funds, and includes $5 million in debt retirement payments.