Unexpected Increased Enrollment Drives Up New Trier Budget
The school board approved a $102-million budget. The growing student body was attributed to fewer students attending private school and families taking advantage of reduced home prices to move into the district.
The New Trier Township High School District 203 school board unanimously approved a $102-million spending plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, up about 4.35 percent from what the district planned to spend last year.
The budget totals varied only slightly from the tentative budget approved in July, according to Associate Superintendent Don Goers.
The biggest change was caused by an unexpected uptick in the school’s enrollment. Instead of dropping from 4,232 students last year to 4,196 this year, as predicted by the school’s projections, the pre-first-day enrollment stood at 4,277. That led the district to add some class sections and the equivalent of 1.35 full-time teachers at a cost of $135,000.
Earlier: New Trier Approves Tentative Budget
“The enrollment caught us a little bit by surprise,” Goers said, raising class sizes in a year when the district had expected class sizes to go down. The district plans to do a demographic study this fall to try to find out whether the growing enrollment will continue in coming years, he said.
Superintendent Linda Yonke said several factors seem to be contributing. Some local families that may have sent their children to private schools are choosing New Trier, while depressed housing prices mean that new families are taking the opportunity to move into a premier public school district.
Board member Peter Fischer said the district is controlling the costs it can. Enrollment isn’t one of those things, he said.
“The important thing to note is that the sky is not falling,” Fischer said.
The district was able to trim from other areas of the budget and expected expenses in the education fund will rise about $8,563 from the tentative budget.
On the revenue side, projections for state revenue dropped by $160,000 because the money came in the last fiscal year, while projections for local revenue grew by $28,000 — money coming from fees and sales — and projected federal revenue grew by $100,000.
The overall budget estimates are very close to original projections. Much of the increase is due to a project to install synthetic turf in the stadium and nearby practice fields at the school’s Northfield campus. The projected increase in operating expenses — not counting capital improvements, life safety work and debt payments, among other things — is 2.43 percent, with projected spending of $93.9 million.
On the revenue side, the district is projecting collections of $100.5 million, or an increase of 3.98 percent from last year. It is projecting an increase in operating fund revenue of 2.6 percent, with expected income at $95.2 million.
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