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Updated: District 46 Increases 2011 Tax Levy

After a public hearing, the school board voted 4-3 to approve a $31.9 million levy.

Three  members voted against increasing the 2011 tax levy at the Dec. 14 board meeting, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the measure from passing.

After a public hearing, board members Michael Carbone, Kip Evans and Shannon Smigielski voted against approving the $31.9 million levy, which is an increase of $1.4 million or 4.64 percent over 2010.

Board members Sue Facklam, Ray Millington, Keith Surroz and Karen Weinert voted in favor of the increase.

Before the public hearing, resident Lisa Jarratt, wife of 31st Senate District candidate and Lake County Tea Party Chairman Lenny Jarratt, made a silent protest against the tax levy increase, and made a dig at Facklam.

Jarratt passed out copies of April 2011 election campaign materials from Facklam and former board President Mary Garcia in which they stated they were proud to have balanced the budget every year without asking for a tax increase.

Just Say No

This is the third year Carbone has voted against a tax levy increase. After the meeting, he told Patch he was concerned for the many residents who still are struggling financially and may have lost jobs or are facing home foreclosure.

“There’s got to be a stopping point,” he said of raising the levy.

“I don’t feel we did our homework in what we could reduce,” said Evans after the meeting. “Other school districts and municipalities have either cut back or cut out levy increases.”

Smigielski said she had no comment on why she voted against the levy increase.

District 46 Business Manager Anna Kasprzyk gave a short presentation about the levy during a public hearing prior to the regular board meeting.

She said the district reduced levies in funds including the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, Social Security, special education and operations and maintenance.

The largest chunk of the 2011 levy, 4.23 percent, she said, is for accommodating bond payments.

We Sympathize

“We sympathize with the taxpayers,” read a power point slide. “We are aware more are struggling financially and may have lost jobs. However, we are faced with higher costs and reduced revenue.”

The district has cut more than $6 million in expenditures over the last three years and vows more for the future. Major estimated that expenditure reductions for the 2011-12 school year stand at about $455,000, according to a board meeting handout.

State and federal revenue reductions for 2011-12 are estimated at $1.25 million.

Kasprzyk said the reason for the levy increase is that expenditures are rising across the board and state and federal revenues are decreasing or being eliminated. For example, the district’s general state aid is expected to decrease 5 percent in fiscal 2012.

It is also possible the state will stop funding bus transportation to public schools. For District 46, this would be a $2.5 million loss.

Superintendent Ellen Correll said school districts are waiting for the General Assembly to return to session early next year to make a decision, “but it’s not good.”

Correll said she’s prepared to join her fellow school superintendents in lobbying against the measure.

Another reason for the levy increase, said Kasprzyk, is two upcoming union negotiations for the 2012-13 school year, which could result in increased expenditures. She said the district also has little control over the cost of insurance, unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation and fuel.

The estimated property tax revenue that would come from new construction within the district is estimated at $150,000, Kasprzyk said. Also, an expiring tax increment financing district is anticipated to generate about $3.5 million for the district.

At a previous board meeting, Kasprzyk suggested the district ask the county for the entire levy, but review in March whether to accept the total funds allotted or abate them, which would save taxpayers some money. Giving the taxpayers a break with an abatement was an idea Carbone had suggested previously.

 

CORRECTION: The amount of property tax revenue that could come from new construction within the district is actually about $150,000, instead of a higher number previous reported. Patch regrets the error.

Terri December 18, 2011 at 01:42 PM
I liked much of what you said in your response, however; one of the reasons people object to "mouth-foaming, public employee hater rants" is misinformation. They tend to emphasize things like a 10% TRS contribution without talking about the 6%+ school districts DON'T pay in employment tax because teachers aren't eligible for Social Security, the 1.2%+ school districts DON'T pay in FUTA/SUTA because teachers aren't eligible for unemployment compensation, and the nearly 3% school districts DON'T pay in Worker's Compensation tax because teachers aren't covered. That pretty much covers the 10% TRS contribution; a wash.
Sully December 18, 2011 at 05:29 PM
D46- you are mistaken. I've never said you must spend every cent on teachers and kids. However, I get angry when people aim their blame in the wrong places. Do you think industries such as insurance and oil don't raise prices artificially to make as much money as they can? That's not even for anyone's benefit other than the CEOs.
Jose Cuervo December 19, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Of course there are. There are also districts not increasing. From the Lake County News Sun: While most area school districts are increasing their property-tax levies to offset declining state revenue, Oak Grove School District 68 has taken the unusual step of reducing their levy. The school board for the Green Oaks-based school district (near Libertyville) recently voted 5-2 to reduce the district’s tax levy by about $500,000, despite concerns raised by the school administrators that the reduction could negatively impact future projects or programs. It’s estimated the levy reduction would save the owner of a $600,000 home approximately $200 a year in the school portion of their tax bills. The board voted 4-3 against taking the full tax levy, which would have been nearly $13.8 million, included a 1.5 increase for inflation. With the reduction, the levy will be just over $13 million.
Jose Cuervo December 21, 2011 at 10:45 AM
From the Daily Herald, Aurora’s property tax levy will decrease about $4 million for the 2011 tax year, which officials say could result in a drop in the amount homeowners owe the city. The levy is a 6 percent decrease from the $77.6 million the city brought in from property taxes in the 2010 tax year, according to historical tax levy data prepared by Finance Director Brian Caputo. The city council unanimously approved the levy Tuesday night at a meeting Mayor Tom Weisner did not attend. In previous discussions of the tax levy and the city’s budget, Weisner said he and his staff were careful to ensure the levy would not just remain level but decrease this year. Under the levy, the owner of a home with an assessed value of $180,000 would owe the city $70 less in property taxes this year than the owner of a home at the same value would have last year, Caputo said.
Terri December 23, 2011 at 07:50 PM
Oak Grove District 68 in Green Oaks has reversed an earlier decision to seek $500,000 less in property taxes and instead will seek the full amount allowed. The decision came after residents actually campaigned for the higher taxes. “This school is the centerpiece of the community and we should take every opportunity to protect the funding for it,” Wayne and Kristin Brown said in a letter to the board.

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