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BLOOMINGTON — The tentative budget for 2018-19 reviewed by the District 87 school board on Wednesday night shows an operating deficit of nearly $2.6 million.

The projected operating fund revenues are $70.6 million, with expenditures from those funds projected to be $73.2 million.

However, Colin Manahan, chief financial and facilities officer, told the board, “At the rate of transferring funds out of the working cash fund, we have about three years left in that fund.”

Expenditures have exceeded revenues every year since fiscal 2012.

The board will act on the budget at its Sept. 26 meeting, which will be preceded by a public hearing.

The district initially had been expecting a fiscal 2018 deficit of $3.6 million but ended with a surplus of $215,358.

That unexpected surplus was a result of receiving catch-up payments from the state for money owed from previous years, higher than expected revenue from the corporate personal property replacement tax and an increase in interest earnings.

“The unpredictability of how the state is going to pay its bills makes this difficult,” Manahan said of the budget process.

The state still owes District 87 about $1 million from fiscal 2018.

The tentative budget shows the state providing $8.4 million in general state aid to District 87 under the evidence-based funding model. However, Manahan said the district learned Wednesday afternoon that figure will be closer to $8.6 million.

Local revenue is expected to be flat based on a slight decline in the total property value in the district and an estimated decline of revenue from the corporate personal property replacement tax.

Although there is more certainty this year than last, there are still unknowns. The budget assumes federal funding to the district will be flat but Manahan said it could go down.

Seventy-four percent of the district's revenue comes from local sources. Seventeen percent comes from the state and 9 percent comes from the federal government.

Looking ahead, Manahan and Superintendent Barry Reilly expressed concern about the impact on property tax revenue likely to occur as Eastland Mall continues to struggle. The mall will lose its third anchor store in less than two years when Bergner's closes.

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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