Park Ridge-based District 64 trims budget to save for all-day kindergarten

As they consider future building renovations, Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 officials are tightening their belts when it comes to spending in the new fiscal year.

A budget tentatively approved by the school board last week calls for nearly $86.8 million in spending on salaries, facility improvements and other expenditures during the 2022 fiscal year, which started July 1.

That's down from nearly $89.5 million in the 2021 fiscal year's budget, a change of about 3%.

Spending is down, in part, because officials are beginning to save money for a newly approved plan to offer all-day kindergarten, spokesman Nick Shepkowski said. That plan, if it moves forward, will require construction at the elementary schools and at Jefferson School, which would become the district headquarters.

Construction at Carpenter Elementary in Park Ridge is the most significant project in the proposed budget, Shepkowski said. Heating and air conditioning units were replaced this summer, as was the flooring in some rooms, he said.

"This is the second of two phases," Shepkowski said. "The first was done three years ago."

The work cost about $1.7 million, Shepkowski said.

On the other side of the ledger, income from property taxes, fees and other sources is expected to increase this year.

The new revenue estimate is nearly $83.6 million, documents show. That's up about 3.5% from the $80.8 million sum in the 2021 plan.

A public hearing and a final board vote on the budget are expected Sept. 23.

District 64 has about 4,700 students in eight schools. Most are in Park Ridge; two are in Niles.

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