Homer 33C lowers levy request

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

 

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

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For Immediate Release:

Nov. 17, 2015

 

Homer 33C lowers levy request

 

Keeping taxpayers in mind, Homer School District 33C has proposed lowering its levy request to 2.75 percent — nearly half the amount sought in previous years.

 

“This year, we’re not going to go out for a 5 percent levy,” John Reiniche, the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Business, announced at the Nov. 17 school board meeting. “We believe we can achieve the same results with a 2.75 percent levy.”

 

The property tax levy is the amount of property tax dollars a school district requests to operate its schools.

 

Last year, Homer 33C requested a 4.98 percent levy. In 2013, it requested 4.96 percent levy; in 2012, it requested 4.99 percent. It received between 2.14 percent and 3.57 percent each year after the tax cap was applied.

 

This year’s request of 2.75 percent represents the district’s lowest request in at least five years. Once the tax cap is factored in, the district is expected to receive a 1.76 percent increase in revenues, or roughly $695,000 in new money.

 

“We’re trying to get (our levy) closer to what we think we’re going to get,” said Reiniche.

 

School districts are forced to inflate their requests each year because they do not yet know what the Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) will be for that calendar year. Those figures are typically known after the calendar year ends.

 

To make sure the school districts do not lose out on any money that they are entitled to, administrators often inflate or “balloon” the levy.

 

Factors that drive the levy are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and new growth.

 

This year’s CPI of .8 percent is among the lowest in recent years (nearly 300 percent below the average rate of 2.4 percent), lowering Homer 33C’s ability to raise money. Making matters worse, the State of Illinois is not meeting its financial obligations and is even talking about shifting pension costs onto school districts.

 

If that happens, Homer 33C will have to come up with another $6 million to fund the pensions.

 

“The district needs to continue to move forward with providing quality programs and initiatives,” said Reiniche, “while becoming more efficient in other areas and controlling costs.”

 

The district has already implemented a number of cost-saving measures, including realigning job duties to achieve maximum efficiency with reduced staff; soliciting donations for school, classroom and curricular needs; and harnessing energy with the use of solar panels at Homer Junior High and Goodings Grove School.

 

Most recently, it found a way to save more than $60,000 by converting 300 laptops to Chromebooks using Cloud Ready.

 

“Everyone in Homer 33C is working hard to be good financial stewards and save the district money,” said Superintendent Kara Coglianese. “We take seriously our responsibility to educate students while providing sound financial planning.”

 

The Board will vote on the levy at its Dec. 15 meeting.

 

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