DISTRICT 155 BOARD TAX ABATEMENTS REACH $6.5 MILLION
Board Abates $2 Million to Community for 2013 Taxes
CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill., February 20, 2013 —The Community High School District 155 board of education took action Tuesday to lower the cumulative property taxes paid by district taxpayers. The abatement decreases the tax levy by $2 million, and should effectively limit any District 155 tax increase for residents. This is the third year in a row that the board of education has taken this action, abating a total of $6.5 million back to the community during this time.
“District 155 may be one of the only school districts in the state to do this for three consecutive years,” board president Ted Wagner shared. “Because of solid financial management over the course of the past several decades, we have positioned ourselves to offer taxpayers relief.”
With the approval of this third abatement, the board of education’s efforts have lowered the tax bill for District 155 residents by a total of $6.5 million. The abatement has a limiting effect on the increase to the district’s portion of the total tax bill over the past three years, and residents’ District 155 tax liability has increased at a considerably lower rate than originally levied. Taxes paid to District 155 are just one of several portions of a residents’ tax bill, which includes multiple local taxing bodies. To abate this year’s taxes, the District 155 board will use reserves in the Working Cash Fund.
“When we first abated three years ago, it wasn’t the norm for taxing bodies to limit taxes in this way,” said Wagner. “District 155 has been a fiscal leader, looking for creative ways to ease the tax burden for our community.”
“The board has a clear understanding that we must balance the educational opportunities we provide to students with the economic realities of our community,” added Dr. Johnnie Thomas, District 155’s superintendent. “We must continue to produce quality students in the classrooms, but in a measured way that does not have a negative financial impact on the taxpayers who support these efforts.”
To this end, since the first abatement in 2011, District 155 has instituted budget cuts and enhanced efficiencies, allowing the district to minimize tax increases while creating new education programs for students and seeing improvements in the diversity of courses offered, Advance Placement participation, and standardized test scores.
At the February 12 board of education finance committee meeting, board members and district administrators discussed the abatement and forecasts for District 155’s long-term financial stability. While unknowns remain such as a shift of the pension burden to local taxpayers, District 155’s fiscally conservative operations over past decades has put the district in a position to limit tax increases through abatement. Additionally, District 155 has not approached voters for a referendum during the past three decades, and has received the State of Illinois’ highest financial recognition for each of the past 10 years.