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updated: 9/23/2011 6:04 PM

Arlington Hts. District 25 budget shows deficit

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The $69 million budget for Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 requires pulling $3 million out of reserves, the difference between revenue and expenditures being capital projects.

Property taxes will increase by $4.2 million and represent 85 percent of revenues, while state funds decrease and are only 6 percent of revenues.

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The budget will be on the agenda of the board of education at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, at South Middle School, 400 S. Highland Ave.

According to Stacey Mallek, assistant vice president for business, the anticipated revenue is based on property taxes rising 2.7 percent, which mirrors the consumer price index and is the amount allowed under state law.

If capital projects were not included, this would have been a balanced budget, said Mallek. The district projects budget reserves will be adequate for at least the next five years.

Capital projects include $1.4 million for roofing and other exterior work on buildings. The district plans to spend $1 million per year on roofs for each of the next four years, said Superintendent Sarah Jerome.

The district decided against updating the food service kitchen at the Rand School, 2550 N. Arlington Heights Road, and it's possible the Futabaki Japanese School will add that space to what it already rents in the building.

Instead, District 25 will spend about $515,000 on kitchens in the two middle schools. Reducing the transportation of hot lunches to those two schools and the elementary schools should save some money, said Jerome.

The budget also contains $900,000 for remaining air conditioning work.

The reserve fund will still have $49 million, which is about 70 percent of the district's budget.

It has been recommended the district maintain reserves of 40 percent of the budget, but Jerome said there is some thought of increasing it to 50 percent due to the uncertainty of money from the state and because property taxes were half a year late last year.

Teacher salaries will rise 2.45 percent this year -- which includes all increases for educational achievement, or "step" increases -- according to the contract negotiated with the Arlington Teachers' Association, which is tied to the consumer price index.

Jerome said no professional staff members have been laid off for financial reasons except those hired with grants that expired.

The district has 424 certified personnel this year, up one from last year. The student population is down about 40 students from last year's 5,232.

The district is saving money on things like energy costs and the phone contract. However, insurance costs are up 6 percent, and the amount needed for retirement funds will increase 10 percent in January, officials said.

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