H-F High will have its 13th balanced budget

Homewood-Flossmoor High School will have a balanced 2018 budget. It is the 13th consecutive year the district has been in the black.
Business manager Ken Parchem said the $53.76 million budget shows a 1.7 percent increase in revenues over the 2017 budget. 

“Overall revenues are fairly flat. We show a $600,000 overall increase. Expenditures are up 3.8 percent,” he said. 
The school board is expected to approve the budget at the Sept. 19 board meeting. 
It is for the budget cycle July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
Standard & Poors has given the district the highest bond rating possible — AAA. 
“Right now we’re still in a balanced budget despite the shortfall from the state (of Illinois).  Our goal is to continue balanced budgets and maintaining that Triple A rating,” Parchem said.

The majority of the school budget — an estimated $39.6 million — comes from property taxes. H-F can only increase its tax revenue by 0.7 percent to meet requirements of the state-imposed tax caps that mandate school districts hold increases at 5 percent or the consumer price index (CPI), whichever is less. This year, that means using a CPI number.
When Cook County sends out tax bills, it collects for the previous year. Parchem said H-F is still getting money based on the 2016 CPI. The majority of its revenue for this year is based on the 0.7 percent number. In spring, the county will estimate the CPI number at 2.1 percent.
H-F also is showing a 1 percent increase in new property.  However, the Meijer store in Flossmoor will not be on the tax rolls until fall 2018, Parchem said.
His latest estimate was for H-F to receive $9.25 million in General State Aid (GSA) from the State of Illinois. He did not have updated numbers from the newly approved school funding legislation.
The district is waiting for two late payments in state aid that it should have received in August. Payments were withheld while the legislature debated that funding bill. 
The state also shorted the district one of four categorical payments of about $700,000 from the 2016-17 school year. The money is separate from GSA. It reimburses the district for special education, transportation and other costs.
The budget shows revenue of $3.33 million in state and federal grants, and $4.01 million from other revenues, including textbook fees, food services and the corporate personal property tax.
Teachers and staff received a 2.8 percent salary increase. Parchem also expects a small increase in medical insurance costs.
The major improvement project this budget cycle is work on the swimming pool in the South Building. It was last updated in the 1990s. Parchem said the project will include new mechanical equipment, lighting, painting, sound system improvements and some tile work.

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