Plainfield schools settle tax levy
By Madhu Mayer Correspondent December 18, 2012 6:38PM
Updated: January 21, 2013 3:33PM
The Plainfield Community Consolidated School District 202 is planning to ask for $197,866,981 in local property taxes, including bond and interest, through the district’s 2012 levy.
After a public hearing, the School Board approved its proposed levy on Monday.
Tom Hernandez, director of community relations for the school district, said the proposed 2012 levy request is about 20 percent higher than the 2011 extension of $164,889,151, which also included bond and interest. However, District 202 officials expect the difference between the actual 2012 levy and last year’s extension to be less than 20 percent.
According to Hernandez, the levy is the school district’s official request for its share of local property taxes paid by those in the community.
The extension is the amount of local taxes the district actually receives from the counties it serves, which are Will and Kendall. The official extension will be calculated after the district’s final equalized assessed value is established in April.
“The higher levy is normal,” Hernandez said. “Governments must request, or ‘levy for’ more taxes than they actually expect to receive, to ensure that they get their full share of taxes. If governments ask for less than what they ultimately are due, they lose any funds over their request.”
So far, according to Hernandez, District 202 has reduced operating expenses by about $43 million since 2009 to address budget deficits caused by the weak economy, the collapsed housing market and volatility in state funding.
The state tax cap law limits the amount of new revenue the district can levy each year to either the rate of inflation or 5 percent, whichever is less. For the 2012 levy, the rate of inflation is 3 percent. Therefore, according to Hernandez, District 202 can increase its local property tax revenues by only 3 percent, plus the value of new construction.
Of the total amount of the proposed 2012 levy, approximately 80 percent or $159.7 million will go to the district’s operating funds, which include education, operations and maintenance, transportation, working cash, Illinois Municipal Employees Retirement Fund and tort fund.
District officials will be able to calculate the 2012 extension and resulting tax rate after the district’s equalized assessed valuation or EAV is finalized early next year.
Besides Bonnie McBeth and Plainfield Academy, District 202 has 17 elementary schools, seven middle schools and four high schools.
Though she does not know how much she will be paying in taxes to the school district next year, Angelina Zak of Plainfield, whose four children attend Plainfield schools, said she is always willing to pay more in property taxes if it translates to better schools.
“As long as the increase is not too exorbitant, I am willing to pay my fair share so my children get the best education possible,” she said.