District 47 names Hinz official superintendent, approves levy increase

CRYSTAL LAKE – Kathy Hinz was named the permanent superintendent of Crystal Lake School District 47 on Monday after serving in an interim role for the past six months.

Board members unanimously approved Hinz for the position, which she will officially start Jan. 1. Board President Jeff Mason and other members praised Hinz’s leadership, accessibility and strong relationship with staff members, noting her lengthy tenure in the district made her the best candidate to lead the school district into the future.

“I’ve been very pleased with the teamwork, the leadership, the communication. She has been outstanding,” Mason said. “The board made an excellent decision.”

Hinz, who has spent her entire 17-year career in District 47, was appointed interim superintendent after former district head Donn Mendoza entered into a mutual resignation June 6.

She deflected praise and said it was the staff and teachers that have made it a seamless transition for her into the new role.

“I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a great staff,” Hinz said. “It’s an absolute treasure and honor.”

As interim superintendent, Hinz made $139,198, a number that will increase to $173,000 when she takes over in January. Her contract runs through June 2016.

The board also approved the levy it agreed upon in November that would result in a 1.7 percent increase from last year’s levy.

While the proposed levy would generate $67.4 million in property tax revenue for operational costs, Kevin Werner, the district’s chief financial officer, said the real amount collected is almost always less than requested. He said the actual increase would be closer to 1.9 percent and generate roughly $66.7 million.

The owner of a $200,000 home would see a $39 increase in the District 47 portion of the property tax bill.

The increase in property tax bills is partially a result of the area’s total equalized assessed valuation – the total taxed property value – decreasing 7.6 percent, which cost the district hundreds of millions in its tax base.

Board members unanimously voted for the increase, but many voiced concerns about trying to limit the need for future raises in the face of uncertain fiscal situations at the state level.

“I was hoping maybe this year we could keep our levy flat,” said board member Nancy Gonsiorek. “I just feel we have to stop looking at it like its our [money] to take.”