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posted: 7/23/2013 5:30 AM

Libertyville-Vernon Hills Dist. 128 budget up 3.4%

But revenue projected down due to tax cuts

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The Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 board on Monday tentatively approved an $84.5 million budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

The proposed spending plan is about 3.4 percent greater than the $81.7 million budget for the 2013 fiscal year, which ended June 30.

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Yasmine Dada, the district's assistant superintendent for business, attributed the change to contractual increases in salaries and benefits, and a $500,000 increase in construction costs.

Big projects over the next year will include $1.9 million in life-safety improvements at Libertyville High, a parking lot resurfacing at Vernon Hills High and tuckpointing at Libertyville High.

Officials predict they'll collect about $81.3 million in revenue over the next year, down about 2.4 percent from $83.3 million in the 2013 fiscal year.

Revenue is decreasing because officials are reducing the amount of property tax they'll collect by about $4 million, among other factors, Dada said.

It's the second annual tax abatement for District 128 residents. Last year, the district cut its tax revenue by $2 million.

Decreasing the tax levy helps homeowners during the struggling economy, Dada said.

"All our projections show we're pretty healthy financially," Dada told the Daily Herald. "Here's a way that we can help."

The board approved the tentative budget with a 4-0 vote Monday, after a brief discussion. Three trustees were absent.

A public hearing on the budget is planned for Aug. 12 at Libertyville High, 708 W. Park Ave.

Final approval is expected to come Aug. 26 in a meeting at Vernon Hills High, 145 N. Lakeview Parkway.

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