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updated: 9/16/2011 5:23 AM

Dist. 214 balances budget for 17th straight year

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As many school districts and public institutions are struggling through a tough economy and diminishing state funds, Northwest Suburban High School District 214 passed a balanced budget for the 17th year in row at its meeting Thursday night.

"If more governmental organizations would follow that lead, we would be in good shape," said board President James Perkins, congratulating the board and the district on the budget.

The total operating funds will be about $230 million. With all other costs and expenses included, during 2011-12 the district plans to bring in $282,500,000.00 and spend $274,500,000.00, leaving it with an expected surplus of about $8 million.

Property taxes will make up a little more than 80 percent of revenue, bringing in $6 million more than last year. Other revenue sources include corporate taxes, state and federal aid.

The largest expenditure for the district will be employee salaries and benefits, which make up about 76 percent of the budget. These personnel costs are up about $6 million from last year.

According to the proposed budget, items like technology and transportation were expected to increase by between 3 percent and 5 percent for this year.

Before the board unanimously approved the final budget, only one taxpayer came to the public hearing to make a comment. Roland Ley, president of Taxpayers United, said he doesn't like being critical of the district but found faults and missing information in the budget.

"There is no historical or projected statistical information on things such as enrollments, average pay for teachers and various administrative categories, levy amounts and rates by property valuation categories," Ley said in his statement to the board.

The district was named a Meritorious Budget Award winner by the Association of School Business Officials in July for its 2010-2011 budget.

District 214 is the second-largest high school district in the state and serves more than 12,000 students from Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines, Elk Grove, Mt. Prospect, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows and Wheeling.