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D86 Board OKs Tentative $75 Million Balloon Tax Levy

The amount the district actually gets permission to collect next spring will likely be significantly lower once the district's total EAV and new construction numbers are known.

The District 86 Board of Education approved a tentative tax levy last week that would aim to raise as much revenue via property taxes as state law allows.

The board voted 5-2 to affirm the administration’s recommendation to request a $75.5 million “balloon levy” to be collected from its taxpayers, $73.1 million of which would go toward its capped funds like education and operations, despite the fact that such an increase accounts for $17 million more in new construction than the district expects, business manager Jeff Eagan said. 

The $73.1 million for capped funds is a 4.5 percent increase over last year’s tax extension. 

According to state law, the extension of the 2012 levy over the 2011 levy is limited by the 2011 consumer price index (CPI) of 3 percent, but can exceed that percentage based on the equalized assessed valuation (EAV) of all property in the district and/or the amount of new property constructed in the district, two numbers that won't be known until next spring.

Business manager Jeff Eagan said he expects there will be $30 million in new construction and a five percent EAV decrease in District 86 for the coming tax year.

Balloon levies like the one passed tentatively last week are common in the area, extending well beyond the CPI to make sure the maximum levy, including revenue that might come as a result of EAV and new construction exceeding expectations, is approved by the county clerks’ offices in the spring.

Board President Dennis Brennan voted in favor of the tentative levy along with board members Kay Gallo, DeeDee Gorgol, Michael Kuhn and Jennifer Planson. Dianne Barrett and Richard Skoda voted against the tentative levy.

Barrett and Skoda both said at the board’s Nov. 5 committee of the whole meeting that they supported a flat levy that would collect the same amount as last year.

Skoda said he’s heard EAV may fall more than five percent in District 86, and it’s unfair for residents who are seeing their home values drop to be on the hook for an increasing tax levy.  

“We need to come up with a better argument … why we are asking people who are losing money to pay more money,” Skoda said on Nov. 5.

Brennan agreed that falling EAV is a problem, but he said the district doesn’t revenue-raising alternatives in Illinois, where state funding is lacking.

“There’s only one way [to fund a school district] if you live in this area, and it’s property taxes,” the board president said.

The $73.1 million request applies to capped funds that include the education, operations and maintenance, transportation, Tort liability, Social Security, IMRF and working cash funds.

The total balloon levy for all funds, including $2.4 million for the non-capped debt service fund, would be $75.5 million, which would equate to a 4 percent increase over last year's total extension.

The final tax levy resolution will be voted on at the board’s Dec. 10 meeting.

Steve Woodward November 27, 2012 at 05:13 PM
“There’s only one way [to fund a school district] if you live in this area, and it’s property taxes,” board president (Dennis Brennan) said. Thanks for the economics lesson. The headline here is that you're not merely "funding" the district, you're soaking taxpayers for millions in discretionary spending on non-essentials -- $17 million! -- and rubber-stamped teacher salary increases regardless of merit. Meanwhile, there is another way to fund the district, and we're doing it, too: Endless out-of-pocket expenses and fees students and parents are bombarded with in addition to obscene property tax hikes. Wake up, folks. While you roasted your turkeys, they were cooking our goose.
Barry Allen November 28, 2012 at 06:44 PM
But, Steve, the majority of the D86 Board like this new, simplified, budget policy 1) Tax the MAXIMUM amount you can 2) Spend it. 3) Still want more? Sell bonds to borrow more money and repeat step 2. Elections for school board in April. I hope to see some new names on the board after the votes are counted.
John Regan November 29, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Barry, you said "Elections for school board in April. I hope to see some new names on the board after the votes are counted." Agreed. The majority of the school board are reprehensible, not just for the fiscal mentions you cite, but for the permitting the hidden liberal agenda of the faculty and the derelict administration to creep into the curriculum as well. I would be willing to help raise funds for an alternative slate of candidates, especially if they commit to replacing the current administration as soon as feasible. I had been standing idly by while they stole our school. No longer. I'm standing up now to try to take it back. Otherwise, the schools will (continue to) go down the tubes along with our property values. So far, I'm with Barret and Skoda although I did not vote for them last time. Are there any other candidates who will run to oppose the majority? It won't be an easy fight to win; we need to start mobilizing now, or I can assure you we will lose. Throw the bum out. April isn't soon enough.

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