New Lyons School District 103 business manager Sherry Whitaker is projecting a budget surplus of about $800,000 for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Whitaker presented her tentative budget at special meeting of the District 103 school board held last Thursday evening at the district’s Administration Building.

Initially Whitaker’s tentative budget projected a nearly $1.37 million surplus, but she said she just received word that the Illinois Department of Revenue is projecting a nearly 24 percent decrease in revenue from Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax which she estimates will reduce revenue to the district by about $580,000.

The school board voted 6-0 to accept the tentative budget which is now on display at the district office. The school board must approve a final budget by the end of September.

School board members praised the work of Whitaker who started her job at District 103 on July 1.

“In my 10 years (on the school board) this is probably one of the best (budget presentations) we’ve had,” said board member Sharon Anderson.

Board member Joanne Schaeffer agreed.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a really good presentation,” Schaeffer said.

Superintendent Carol Baker praised Whitaker for the work she put in preparing the budget.

“Sherry has been working 14 hours a day to get this together,” Baker said.

Baker replaced a part time business manager who was hired last year after former business manager Jacqui Parisi was put on leave for unexplained reasons. Parisi ultimately resigned after reaching a settlement with the district.

The tentative budget assumes a one percent increase in revenue from local property taxes and a 1.3 percent increase in interest income.

The budget assumes total revenue of about $36 million with about 66 percent of that coming from local property taxes. Adding in other local funding the budget projects that 71 percent of the district’s revenue will come from property taxes and other local funding sources. The budget assumes that the district will receive about $9.4 million in state aid which would account for about 27 percent of the district’s revenues. The budget projects that the district will receive about $1.6 million in aid from the federal government which should account for about 2.3 percent of the district’s revenues.

The budget projects that salaries and benefits will account for 74 percent of the district’s expenditures. Whitaker projects that overall salaries have increased by about two percent this year and that the cost of employee benefits increased by about three percent. The district will pay about $300,000 more than last year on textbooks and other curriculum related expenses such as a new math curriculum for elementary school students. The district is spending $100,000 for new Chromebooks and is projecting a $75,000 increase in the cost of utilities.

Fees to the Lyons Township Schools Treasurer’s office are projected to increase by 15 percent, or $20,000, due to the costs of the treasurer’s office lawsuit against Lyons Township High School.

According to unaudited figures District 103 finished the 2016-17 school with an operating surplus of about $2.1 million.

Whitaker is projecting that the district will have a fund balance of nearly $15 million as of June 30, 2018.

“There is no issue with fund balances in this district,” Whitaker told the school board.