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Forest Park School District 91 currently expects to end the 2022-2023 school year with a surplus of around $9.5 million, according to the preliminary budget unveiled during its Aug. 11 board of education meeting.

Under state law, school districts must present preliminary budgets for public review 30 days before adopting the final one in September. Assistant Superintendent of Finance Robert Hibbird told the board that the budget will undergo several adjustments before the final approval, including some new hires and up-to-date information on investment earnings. The board will hold the budget public hearing on Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Forest Park Middle School, 925 Beloit Ave., with the vote taking place during the regular meeting, which will start at 7 p.m. at the same location. 

Under the preliminary budget, the district expects to spend around $8.35 million on salaries for teachers, with around $2.1 million going toward benefits. Another $1.87 million in salaries and $261,256 would go toward salary and benefits for support services. About $1.86 million would be spent on supplies and materials. The district also expects to spend $75,000 on community services.  

Hibbird said the district expects to spend at least $44,000 on professional teacher development programs, with $35,000 of that going toward two-year training with Oakland, California’s National Equity Project. The coaching organization describes its mission as “increasing the capacity of people to achieve thriving, self-determining, educated, and just communities.”

The district expects property tax revenue to increase by 5% and a $3,000 increase in interest earnings. It assumes that D91 would get at least $1.35 million from the state — the minimum it is entitled to under the funding allocation formula — and at least $431,433 from regular federal grants for school lunch programs and services to low-income students and students with special needs. The preliminary budget notably doesn’t include federal stimulus fund allocations.

The district also expects to get $205,000 in Corporate Personal Property Replacement tax revenue, one of the taxes the state collects on local taxing bodies’ behalf. There are a few unknowns, including the ultimate outcome of the property tax appeals. 

Hibbird told the board that several factors may change, including what the interest payments would actually look like and how many teachers they end up hiring. The district still needs to hire a kindergarten teacher, some instructional assistants and the Assistant Director for Special Education. Hibbird also said the salaries for certain “designated employee groups” may be adjusted.

 Later during the meeting, he mentioned that one of his long-term priorities is taking a deep dive into “our finances, how we distribute funds along our schools, among different subgroups of students.”

The board approved the release of the preliminary budget without discussion.