Education, Local News

District 153 passes balanced $31.87 million budget

The District 153 school board adopted its 2024 balanced budget of $31.87 million at its Sept. 18 meeting.

Chief School Business Official Eric Trimberger told the board that he was working from last year’s property assessment numbers, so the board may see changes in revenue by the end of 2023.

He estimated the $31.87 million budget will show $31.33 million in expenses. That should give the district a balance of about $500,000 but that will cover outstanding bills for construction projects, and the board agreed to transfer a portion of state monetary support into the IMRF pension fund. 

District 153 doesn’t have a reserve fund that can be used like a savings account, so Trimberger is moving money around to cover bills until tax money comes into the district’s coffers. There are building maintenance projects in the queue, but Trimberger said he won’t bring them to the board for approval until the district has money available.

This year, properties in the South Suburbs are being reassessed. The process isn’t complete, so District 153 hasn’t received new property assessment numbers from Cook County. Taxes are based on property assessments.

That has delayed tax payments. The Cook County Treasurer’s Office normally sends tax bills in August with a payment deadline in September, but Trimberger said he’s heard bills will not be in the mail until around Nov. 1 with tax payments due Dec. 1. 

Voters agreed to raise the educational fund rate by $1.20 per $100 assessed property value in the November 2022 referendum. Using last year’s property tax assessment numbers, Trimberger estimated the district should be receiving an additional $2.8 million. Board member Alex Bosch said after the district pays its bills, the additional money will be used to build up the reserve fund.

In other business, Superintendent Scott McAlister reported the district’s enrollment is at about 1,800 students. Enrollment has remained steady the past 25 years. However, this year there is a drop of about 40 students from last year. The largest drop was in kindergarten enrollment.

McAlister also thanked Foundation 153 for its ongoing support. In the past year, it has donated $12,000, giving staff the opportunity to attend various development programs, and another $6,000 for evacuation kits for teachers in event of an emergency.

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