Budget woes continue

Published 4:20 am Tuesday, June 7, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The guessing game continues as to whether state funds per student will increase for the 2005-2006 school year. Currently the schools are anticipating they will receiving $175 more in funds per student, but with the rising cost of running a school district, this increase may not help.
The Niles Community Schools Board of Education was presented with the projected budget at its meeting Monday evening.
Law added it will be a challenge for the following year to craft a budget that fixes this situation. The increasing costs of teachers' health insurance, retirement and the district's utilities budget is to blame for the budget increase, he added.
The real issue with the budget is with staff costs. The board of education has challenged the district to make more cuts during the school year.
Currently the retirement rate is 14.87 percent and next year's increase will be 16.34 percent. The health insurance costs are expected to raise about 13 percent and the utilities bill may increase almost 15 percent, according to Law.
Law added that in 1994 just after Proposal A passed, retirement costs were only at five percent and in the 10 years since then have more than tripled.
Other areas of the budget aren't expected to rise in the next year. With the addition of some home sporting events to next year's sports schedule the athletics budget will increase only slightly. Also for the fourth year the district will not be rising lunch prices.
The Niles Community Schools, is now officially tax free, as the 1990 bond issue was paid off in May.