At an early morning meeting Monday, Nov. 26, the Grayslake District 46 School Board gave its first presentation on the tentative 2012 tax levy.
The school district is requesting a $32.67 million levy, which is an increase of $1.4 million or 4.5 percent over 2011.
Should the district actually receive this increase, the owner of a $200,000 home could expect to pay up to $400 more per year in property taxes, said Anna Kasprzyk, Chief School Business Official.
"A red flag should not go up, because we're not going to get that (amount)," said D46 Board President Ray Millinton of the $1.4 million tax increase.
The increase is more likely to be about $750,000, not $1.4 million, said Kasprzyk.
Last year, the district voted 4 to 3 to approve a $31.9 million levy, which represented an increase of $1.4 million or 4.64 percent over 2010. The district's 2011 tax levy extension, however, was $31.27 million.
The district is limited in how much it can seek to increase property taxes to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower. The rate of inflation is determined by CPI (Consumer Price Index). This year's CPI is 3 percent. Last year it was 1.5 percent.
It is necessary to pursue a higher tax rate, said Kasprzyk, to help offset a 12 percent decrease in the district's EAV (Equalized Assessed Valuation).
"Last year we had a $1.5 million TIF (Tax-Increment Financing) district expiring that we could tax. This year, we don't really have much new property," said Kasprzyk.
Without a levy increase, the budget shortfall would go from $1.2 million to $1.5 million or even $1.6 million, she noted.
The district has already lost $1.5 million in general state aid that the levy requested won't make up for, said Kasprzyk, adding the district will still be short about $700,000.
In September, the board approved a $49.1 million budget that includes a $1.2 million deficit.
Tax levy increases are requested for six of the district's eight major funds (Educational, Transportation, Working Cash, Municipal Retirement, Social Security and Bond & Interest).
No increase is requested for the Operations and Maintenance Fund. O&M reflects a decrease of $82,000 or 2.29 percent over 2011. There is also no increase requested for the SEDOL IMRF Fund, which shows a decrease of nearly $6,000, or about 16 percent.
The district is requesting a near $21 million levy for the Education Fund, which represents an increase of $1.04 million, or 5.26 percent over 2011.
The Transportation Fund levy request has increased 27.21 percent, Working Cash by 15.06 percent, Municipal Retirement by 11.52 percent, Social Security by 1.37 percent and Bond & Interest by nearly 3 percent over 2011.
Monday's school board meeting, which was not attended by members Michael Carbone, Kip Evans or Shannon Smigielski, was the first of several tax levy presentations that will be held.
The next presentation will be held at the Dec. 5 general board meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at Grayslake Middle School. The meeting will include two public comment sessions.
A third opportunity to review the tentative levy will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 prior to the start of the regular board meeting at the Park campus. The school board will vote on the levy during this meeting.
The district must submit its levy request to the Lake County Clerk's Office by Dec. 21.
Updated: District 46 Increases 2011 Tax Levy (2011 levy)
Residents Speak Out Against District 46 Levy Increase (2010 levy)