No matter how tempting the upcoming school supply sales at Walmart and Walgreens may be, Forest Park District 91 parents can bypass the crowds and bins this year. The district will provide most school supplies — pencils, crayons, pens, notebooks, folders and the ever-popular plastic protractors.
Parents will still need to buy their children a few items, such as backpacks. The complete list of items parents should purchase will be updated on the district’s website by July 10, said Assistant Supt. Ed Brophy.
The district and board decided last spring to pay for school supplies as a way to ease the financial burden on Forest Park parents. They also got rid of registration fees — except for preschool — and all fees for field trips.
D91 is able to cover expenses for families because of its healthy finances, Superintendent Lou Cavallo said at the April State of the District address.
The district is debt-free and can afford to pay for school supplies for parents, he said.
At the district’s strategic plan meeting, July 1, the board was told that the district of 870 students and 82 teachers had a $26 million reserve, which amounts to 16 months of operating income, said Brophy, noting that fund balances were no longer growing and had leveled off. Large capital projects such as the Betsy Ross School addition have used the reserve funds to add to the building without adding debt, he said.
In 2012, the district abated $1.5 million to Forest Park taxpayers, and board member Eric Connor urged the district to continue to investigate strategies for property tax relief in the upcoming year.
The district was also urged by board members to add electronic payments for school lunches and other payments.