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U-46 Board approves hike in tax levy amount


By Seth Hancock
  Without any debate, the Board of Education in School District U-46 unanimously approved of hiking the property tax levy by the maximum allowed under law at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 16, 2019.
  The board already approved of the tax hike by approving of the determination of tax levy and a corresponding resolution in November. The December vote approved the certificate of tax levy and a corresponding resolution.
  “The certificate lists the levy amounts which are requested for each fund,” said Dale Burnidge, director of financial operations. On the resolution, he said: “That’s an annual resolution which allows administration to go ahead and file the certificate of tax levy.”
  The levy increase is nearly $10 million, rising from $320.9 million to $330.8 million (3.1 percent increase) including the corporate and special purpose levies along with the debt services levy. It includes a 3.5 percent increase in the corporate/special purpose levy ($288.5 million from $278.8 million) and a 0.39 percent increase in the debt services levy ($42.3 million from $42.4 million).
  The levy is a defensive levy, the district expecting a 2.4 percent increase ($285.6 million total) in the corporate/special purpose levy, as the district hopes to take as much in taxpayer dollars as legally possible. Equalized assessed values, which are used to determine the levy, are not determined until the spring and early summer in Cook, DuPage and Kane counties which all include U-46 properties.
  “Since levies are filed by the last Tuesday in December of the previous year, it is still necessary to defensive levy to insure receipt of all property tax dollars to which the District is entitled,” the determination of tax levy states.
  The annual tax hike by U-46 continues despite the long-term trend of declining enrollment. Enrollment has dropped 5.6 percent (2,293 fewer students) between Fiscal Year 2012 and FY 2019 and spending has increased 29.8 percent ($128.1 million higher) over that time which is over $80 million faster than the rate of inflation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.
  The FY 2020 budget, also unanimously approved in the fall, increased spending by $36.2 million.

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