District 95 Financial Dashboard
Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 is a high-performing educational institution located in the northwest region of Chicago, serving various communities, including Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer, unincorporated Lake County, and North Barrington.
Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 serves students aged Pre-K—22, providing comprehensive educational opportunities for a wide age range. With a focus on long-term planning and community support, the district continues to grow and adapt to the changing educational landscape.
This overview aims to provide an overview of the district's financial status and key financial aspects for the upcoming fiscal year.
Long-Range Financial Planning
The district annually develops a comprehensive, five-year, long-range plan to proactively manage its financial affairs. A key highlight is the continuous increase in assessed property values for the eighth consecutive year. Furthermore, the district has maintained a Standard and Poor's AAA bond rating, reflecting its financial stability.
Community Support and Referendum
The local communities have consistently supported the district, as evidenced by the successful passing of a $77,600,000 building referendum, with an impressive 69% approval from the electorate. The district issued $37,600,000 in bonds in June 2020 to fund the referendum projects. Additionally, the district has secured labor agreements with its certified staff through the 2025-2026 school year, ensuring stability and continuity in its workforce. The fiscal year 2024 budget is balanced on an operational basis, showcasing prudent financial management.
Budget for 2023-2024
The district adheres to a strict timeline for budget adoption, requiring the Board to approve the budget by September 30th each year. This year's public hearing and budget approval occurred on September 21, 2023. The budget incorporates "On Behalf Payments" from the State, although these are not recorded in the district's financials. The estimated expense of "On Behalf Payments" is budgeted on both the revenue and expense sides, resulting in a net impact of zero dollars. The budget represents a set of reasonable assumptions and financial plans. Key updates include revenue sources such as athletic admissions, facility usage, and interest earnings, as well as anticipated increases in expenses related to purchased services and supplies due to inflationary pressures.
The district has successfully issued all general obligation and debt service bonds related to the referendum projects. A transfer of $3 million from the Operations and Maintenance Fund to the Capital Projects Fund has been budgeted to support ongoing capital improvements in alignment with the master facilities plan. Although the budget shows a deficit due to planned capital projects-related expenses, it should be noted that, without the referendum, Debt Service Extension Base (DESB), fund balance-based project expenses, Empower95 capital projects, and transfers, the operating funds combined budget has an estimated positive revenue over expense balance of $1,336,854.
The district is subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), commonly known as the "tax cap." This law restricts the amount of taxes a district can extend, irrespective of its needs, limiting the growth in the tax extension to a 5% increase or the Consumer Price Index (C.P.I.), whichever is less, plus new construction. For the 2023 levy, the C.P.I. is capped at 5.0%, although the C.P.I. reached 6.5%. It's noteworthy that this is the second year in PTELL's history when the C.P.I. has exceeded the 5.0% cap.
New construction is a significant factor in determining the total Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) and the taxes that can be extended by the district. Preliminary information indicates $18,855,193 in new construction for the 2023 calendar year, which will be adjusted in the spring when final calculations are issued.
Taking into account anticipated new property value and the increase in value for existing EAV, the estimated 2023 EAV for the district is $1,920,879,136. The district calculates its tax extension based on the EAV, C.P.I., and the value of new property.
It's important to recognize that the actual levy figure that the Board will be asked to adopt will be higher than the estimated levy extension to ensure that all eligible funding is captured. This safeguard is a critical component of the levy process, accounting for estimates and allowing the district to make adjustments in the individual funds when the final levy is received in April, based on changes in revenue received and budget decisions for Fiscal Year 2024. The taxpayer is protected by the tax cap, which ensures that the district cannot exceed the total available extension based on the C.P.I. (capped at 5%) plus new construction.
In conclusion, Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 remains committed to fiscal responsibility, long-term planning, and a strong partnership with the communities it serves, all while adapting to changing financial conditions and educational needs. The district's solid financial footing and transparency in its financial reporting reflect its dedication to providing quality education to its students.