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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.

An Beal Bocht December 15, 2011 at 07:18 PM
A community divided? Our whole country is unfortunately.
Lisa Bako December 15, 2011 at 07:44 PM
what choice did they have? It is already in the budget! Plus, without the levy, you do not capture the $400K in new construction.
Marcia Watts Sagendorph (Editor) December 15, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Sully - I don't know why it disappeared into the archives in the first place, or why the website links are now strange. You may want to try reposting the links separately.
Marcia Watts Sagendorph (Editor) December 15, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Sully - I found your comment and attached it here: "I do have to take exception with Mr. Evans' statement that other districts are not asking for tax levies. Plenty of them are.-\r\n\r\nhttp://wjbc.com/dist-87-board-approves-levy-improvement-plans/\r\n\r\nhttp://oswego.patch.com/articles/district-308-board-approves-2011-levy\r\n\r\nhttp://www.pjstar.com/news/x1931302969/Washington-school-board-OKs-property-tax-increase\r\n\r\nhttp://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Wilmette_School_District_39_Levy_Increase_%28April_2011%29\r\n\r\nhttp://www.paxtonrecord.net/news/education/2011-11-23/gcms-board-approves-7-increase-tax-levy.html\r\n\r\nhttp://www.kcchronicle.com/2011/12/12/district-304-approves-levy-that-will-hike-taxes/awzs90a/?__xsl=/print.xsl\r\n\r\nhttp://triblocal.com/bolingbrook/2011/12/13/valley-view-increases-school-tax-levy/\r\n\r\nSchool districts across the state are in need of funding, and are asking- not just Grayslake. Tax breaks for corporations and reductions in federal spending have resulted in local districts going without. The money has to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, it's the little people having to pay the price." - c/o Sully.
Tim Froehlig December 15, 2011 at 07:48 PM
There are so many factors at play here that it just is too much to even comment in great detail about. I will just say I am disappointed that so many villages continue to allow their residential populations explode with no regard to how it affects the school districts. And then the state owes everyone money...it's just a huge mess, and it's always the kids that get the shaft, and the taxpayers. Illinois' property tax code does reward bad behavior, and allows districts who poorly manage their finances to simply legally ask for more money each year, even though their is a cap on that amount.
Terri December 15, 2011 at 08:05 PM
Jose- There's quite a bit of missing information here to draw that type of conclusion; not to mention it's apples to oranges. Just because one taxing body can hold its own doesn't mean another, totally unrelated, can do the same.
Sully December 15, 2011 at 08:15 PM
Thank you Marcia! Thought I was going daffy here for a minute!
Nightcrawler December 15, 2011 at 10:24 PM
"Now watch this drive!" ~ George W. Bush
Rich December 16, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Sometimes, it takes courage to do the right thing and support our schools. A levy not taken this year is lost forever. And that is a long time. The voters approved the tax rate, the tax cap artificially lowered the tax rates, and now they are creeping up to the voter approved levels. Schools pay for utilities just like you and I. The cost goes up. Schools pay for food, just like you and I, and the cost goes up. Times are tough. But saving a few dollars on the tax bill is not going to make foreclosure go away. Coolidge left office in 1929. To say that his policies were not part of the problem leading to the great depression would be an understatement. Homer
Concerned Parent December 17, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Softball Jim I agree with you about the board. It seems whenever there is a vote it's an use against them result. This board needs to learn to work together.
mjschumaker1 December 17, 2011 at 03:18 AM
Unfortunately, those of us who still have jobs, can not vote to have our bosses give us a raise whenever we can't control our expenses and stay within our budgets. I have lived in Grayslake since the early '80's and seen my property taxes more than triple to a point where I may have to move. My tax bill would be inconsequential but for the elementary and high school taxes which constitute the majority of my property tax bill. Other taxing bodies appear to live within their means, and the school districts need to stop spending tax payer's money as if it was a bottomless pit. They conveniently forget that money that is taken from taxpayers does not grow on trees. If the economy gets any worse, the school districts won't be collecting any taxes from the unemployed who have lost their homes.
Sully December 17, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Perhaps if businesses in the district didn't get the huge tax breaks they get, homeowners wouldn't be asked to pay so much. Maybe if the politicians didn't cut federal funding for the people in their own country so they could pay for foreign wars instead, the homeowners wouldn't have to pay more. Perhaps if multi-millionaires would pay their fair share to help their country instead of hiding their money in off shore bank accounts or paying as little as possible because of tax loopholes or political manipulation, the average homeowner would not be asked to pay more to cover what is lost. Maybe you conveniently forget that there is a cost for everything and somebody has to pay.
D46 Resident December 17, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Exactly. And the houses will sit empty, because anyone who does their homework will not move to a district where the taxes double every few years. It is totally out of control.
D46 Resident December 17, 2011 at 03:43 PM
And perhaps if pigs had wings, they would fly. Instead of riding your eternal hobby horse, why don't you concentrate of actual, local issues. And not just by saying that if you don't support yearly huge tax increases, you are "anti-teacher" or "anti-child".
D46 Resident December 17, 2011 at 03:45 PM
So they HAVE to raise the levy to the max EVERY year, or they are not doing their jobs? That is the system? What is our tax rate going to be this year? 15%? What is it going to be in 5 years? 25% ? When does it stop? How much is enough? And if food and utilites are so expensive, why did they pi__ away the stimulus money? Such gross mismanagement.
Sully December 17, 2011 at 05:42 PM
You mean state and federal issues have no impact on local? Okie doke then.
mjschumaker1 December 17, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Sully is making false assumptions. Taxes do NOT have to be automatically raised. Somebody does NOT have to pay. Neither of these are written in stone and should not be taken for granted. Like everyone else in this society, the school districts have a choice to only spend the tax income they receive and live within their means. I do not have the luxury to go running to my boss every time I want something that exceeds my income. Sully's way of thinking would have me whine to my boss that there is a cost to my new house or car and he has to pay for it.
Lennie Jarratt December 17, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Candidate Jarratt Responds to LCFT President Mike McGue -- http://www.district116.org/2011/12/11/state-senatecandidate-lennie-jarratt-responds-to-lcft-president-mike-mcgue/
Sully December 17, 2011 at 06:31 PM
No mj, I would not have you go whine to your boss for something that was your individual choice and your stupidity. This is not about you or any one individual. This is about a generation of kids who will not get the best they can out of education because people like you don't care. Why should you do anything for society as a whole if you don't see the direct benefits. Is that it?
mjschumaker1 December 17, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Why do you assume I don't care about generations of kids or that I don't see the direct benefits of education? Because I don't agree with your position? What's wrong with the fundamental concept of not spending more that you earn? What's wrong with living within your means, whether you're an individual, a family, a community or a school district?
D46 Resident December 17, 2011 at 07:16 PM
In Sully's world, if you don't spend every penny you have on teachers and kids, you don't care about them. And if you disagree with him, he goes off on you. Very angry man.
Sully December 17, 2011 at 07:23 PM
Schools don't "earn" money. Education is not "for profit". Prices that go up for everyone, such as food, gas, electricity, maintenance, materials, etc, etc. go up for schools too. How do you keep funding the same when everything that must be paid for goes up in cost? The choices school districts have to make when something has to be cut affects every child in the district. the choice you make to eat hamburgers instead of steak is a little different. The choice a community may make to not light up with as many Christmas decorations in order to save costs, is not going to cause harm to anyone. The choice to cut art out of the curriculum, or music, or PE, or to increase class sizes to unmanageable numbers, has a direct impact on our kids.
mjschumaker1 December 17, 2011 at 08:24 PM
You know, Sully, you're right about schools not earning money and education not being for profit. Maybe that's, in part, what's wrong with public education, in general, and the District 46 Tax Levy, in particular. If the schools had to earn an income like everyone else, and make a proift to be successful, perhaps they would be living within a budget and be accountable when they can't or won't. Since they aren't forced to learn a living or live within their means, like the rest of us taxpayers, they are free to pick the taxpayer's pockets aand break into our piggy banks as they like.
Sully December 17, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Who is "they"? School districts are not individuals. Making the most money is not the bottom line. Education is not a capitalist construct.
Terri December 18, 2011 at 01:16 PM
The stimulus money was not from property tax and could not have been used for anything other than what it was used for. It could not be added to general fund or future salary increases. It was a "use it or lose it" balance. I would have liked to see it go to "buy-outs" of more expensive teachers, but that's just me.
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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