City of Lockport rejects Homer 33C counter proposal on impact fees

News Release

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 | 708-226-7628


For Immediate Release:

Dec. 15, 2017


City of Lockport rejects counter proposal

Home builders to pay 80 percent less in school impact fees starting July 1


Adding classroom space to accommodate new students whose families decide to build in Lockport just got a whole lot trickier in Homer School District 33C.


On Dec. 6, the City of Lockport voted to reduce its school impact fees 80 percent, cutting the amount of dollars school districts collect from home builders to ensure adequate facilities are available to serve new growth. School districts use the impact fees to help build new schools and classroom additions.


“The reduction may encourage more development in Lockport but at the expense of its schools,” said Superintendent Kara Coglianese.


Last year, Homer 33C collected about $450,000 in impact fees from home builders in Lockport and Homer Glen.


Impact fees helped pay for a $1.7 million addition at Butler School in 2008.


Schools are the “most important reason” families give when building a new home, said Christi Tyler, Homer 33C’s Assistant Superintendent for Business. It’s why they choose to build in one community or another, she added.


Since January, Homer 33C has received $127,000 in impact fees from Lockport alone.


Even though new housing starts have slowed in recent years, Homer 33C’s student enrollment has continued to climb. It now serves 3,682 students — up from 3,556 students in 2010.


As a result of the slow, steady growth, nearly every school is close to capacity. It’s just a matter of time before a new school or building addition is necessary, said Tyler.


Three years ago, the district moved every kindergartner to Schilling School to relieve overcrowding at Butler School. It’s now feeling pressure at Hadley Middle School and Homer Junior High School, which serves every child in Homer 33C.


In the spirit of cooperation, Homer 33C, Will County School District 92 and Lockport Township High School District 205 submitted a counter proposal calling for a 40 percent reduction in school impact fees — the same amount that the City of Lockport offered to cut from its own fees.


The Council rejected the counter proposal, arguing a new industrial development that includes three warehouses will more than make up for the lost impact fees.


In addition, they say the City can always reinstitute the fees if housing starts to boom.


Only one Council member, Catherine Perretta, voted against the fee reduction. Council member Jim Petrakos abstained from voting because his company, Tria Architecture Inc., is working on a facility master plan for the district.


The company recently performed a facility audit for the district and identified $36.6 million in repairs that need to be addressed at the district’s aging facilities. Among them are $3.7 million in repairs at Butler School alone.


“Completing such projects will exhaust the district’s funds,” said Coglianese, “leaving little left for building additions when the needs arise.”


She went on to call the 80 percent reduction short-sighted.


“As the housing market begins to rebound, which it has started to do, it will only put money back in the pockets of a few residential land developers,” she said.



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