District 128 officials proposing leaner budget

  • About $9 million for a new swimming pool at Libertyville High School is included in the proposed Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 budget. The $93.2 million plan will be voted on by the school board Aug. 28.

    About $9 million for a new swimming pool at Libertyville High School is included in the proposed Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 budget. The $93.2 million plan will be voted on by the school board Aug. 28. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, June 2017

 
 
Updated 7/27/2017 4:37 PM

Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 officials are crafting a slightly leaner annual budget than last year's financial plan.

Officials predict they'll spend about $93.2 million during the 2018 fiscal year, which began July 1. That's about 5.1 percent less than the $98.3 million budget for the previous year.

 

District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric attributed the decrease to loans that were paid off last year.

District officials publicly reviewed the proposed budget this week. It will be discussed again Aug. 7, and a school board vote is expected Aug. 28.

The proposed budget includes some of the money needed to build a new swimming pool at Libertyville High School, a project set to begin this summer. The budget also will have cash for a monument at the former Brainerd School campus in Libertyville, various repairs and improvements at Vernon Hills High, staff salaries and other expenditures.

The swimming pool project is expected to cost about $21.5 million, and $8 million of that is in the proposed budget. The $8 million will come from district savings, Todoric said.

The pool project, which also includes some on-campus roadwork, will continue into the 2019 fiscal year, and the rest of the cash will be in next year's spending plan, Todoric said.

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The Brainerd monument will memorialize the former school, which was torn down in 2015 and replaced with an athletic field. To be constructed of bricks salvaged from the building, it's expected to cost about $50,000.

Masonry work totaling $250,000 and elevator improvements totaling $400,000 are among the projects at Vernon Hills High that will be funded in the new budget.

To fund those and other projects, District 128 officials expect to collect about $81.6 million in property taxes, fees and other revenue during the 2018 fiscal year. That's down slightly from the $81.8 million total in the previous budget.

Administrators and board members are looking for ways to reduce spending or increase revenue to better balance the budget, Todoric said. Officials are concerned about a lack of state funding for public education in the Illinois budget, as well as a possible property-tax freeze being pushed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"The district will be modeling a number of forecast scenarios to prepare for all possibilities," Todoric said.

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