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posted: 9/4/2013 8:21 PM

District 207 projecting $5 million surplus for 2014

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Maine Township High School District 207 is projecting a $5.5 million surplus at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year, officials said Tuesday.

The District 207 school board Tuesday night approved a $141 million budget for expenditures for the school year, an increase of almost $3.2 million from the previous school year largely due to projects proposed under the 10-year Facility Master Plan.

Revenues are expected to be more than $146 million, $5.4 more than the 2012-2013 budget.

Property tax revenues are projected to increase 3.8 percent or more than $4 million, that includes a one-time bump of roughly $300,000 in taxes from the Rivers Casino, which was fully assessed starting with the 2012 tax levy.

"Our target has been to live within our 2.5 percent CPI (consumer price index) average," said Mary Kalou, assistant superintendent for business.

The district has kept its property tax levy increases in line with the CPI for several years.

Salaries and employee benefits are budgeted below that 2.5 percent CPI average because of savings from staff turnover and attrition of some employees, Kalou said.

The surplus is due to the district receiving $500,000 for its share of distribution from the dissolution of a special education cooperative, and a budgeted increase in the tax levy collection percentage based on the previous year's collection -- the district collected more than 99.5 percent of its tax levy in the 2012-2013 school year, Kalou said

Officials anticipate again collecting 99.5 percent of the tax levy this school year, which will result in $1 million in additional revenue, Kalou said.

"We are hopeful we will be able to do a property tax abatement," she said, adding that the district can put some of the surplus toward its more than $12 million facility master plan.

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