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D-155 seeks 8 percent more in taxes

CRYSTAL LAKE – Homeowners in District 155 could see their property taxes grow next year.

Under a levy presented Wednesday at a finance committee meeting, the owner of a home valued at $300,000 last year would pay $117 more in taxes to the high school district, even though the value of the home declined to $270,000.

That homeowner last year paid the high school district $2,160. Under the proposed levy for 2012, the homeowner would pay $2,277.

The tax rate would jump to 2.711 percent in 2012 from 2.298 percent in the 2011 tax year.

The school district is seeking $74.5 million in taxes next year, 8 percent more than the $68.9 million it collected last year. That includes taxes levied to capture new construction, and uncapped bond and interest payments. However, the tax cap will limit the district’s extension, or how much it will receive, to an estimated $73.6 million next year.

The past two years, the district has given taxpayers a break by abating $4.5 million in bond and interest payments. Bond and interest payments this year would be $5.6 million, up from $5.3 million last year. Because of the abatement, taxpayers last year paid $3.3 million of that. The rest came from the district’s reserves, as it did the year prior.

Whether board members agree to an abatement this year is up for debate.

The board should proceed with caution, Director of Business and Finance Joe Murphy said, citing uncertainties in Springfield – namely a proposal to shift the burden of pensions to local school districts – and a potential decrease in transportation funding, as well as contract negotiations with the teachers union.

“I’d recommend against [an abatement] only because of the unknowns,” Murphy said. “We really just don’t know what’s going to come out of Springfield,” he said after the meeting.

The board likely will decide in early 2013 whether to abate property taxes next year, Murphy said.

Bonds were issued in the early 1990s after voters gave the district the green light to build Prairie Ridge High School.

School districts 47 and 155 make up the biggest portion of Crystal Lake resident’s tax bill.

District 155 serves nearly 7,000 students at Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Prairie Ridge and Cary-Grove high schools.

The full school board is slated to vote Monday on the tentative levy and will formally approved in December.

If you go

What: District 155 School Board meeting

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday

Where: Center For Education, 1 S. Virginia Road, Crystal Lake

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