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D155 News

Nov 20
2017 Proposed Tax Levy FAQ
What is a tax levy/tax extension?

The tax levy is the amount that a school district requests from property taxes to provide sufficient revenue to maintain its schools and to conduct programs for the education and benefit of all children residing in the school district. The tax extension is the amount that a school district expects to receive.

How much can the district increase the tax levy/extension?

Per the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL), District 155 is “tax capped,” meaning annual tax extensions are limited by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the prior calendar year or 5%, whichever is less. For the 2016 calendar year, the CPI-U was 2.1%. Thus, the district cannot increase its 2017 tax extension on its existing tax base by more than 2.1%.

Why is the tax levy important to District 155?

The tax levy is District 155’s largest, most stable source of revenue. It provides 74% of the district’s total revenue as well as operating revenue.

When is the last time District 155’s tax extension and tax rate were increased?

District 155 last increased its taxes almost three years ago. District 155 has reduced its tax extension and tax rate for each of the last two years (tax year 2015 & tax year 2016). In TY2015, the board approved a flat tax levy.

How does holding the levy flat financially impact the school district?

Based on the board’s decision to hold the tax levy flat in 2015, the estimated savings to District 155’s collective tax base is almost $2.4 million to date. However, since each tax extension is limited by the prior year’s tax extension, a “flat levy” means that largest source of district revenue will not keep up with inflation. Money declined by a district via a “flat levy” cannot be recuperated in the future without a voter referendum.

Does the district’s proposed tax levy mean that a taxpayer will pay 2.1% more in taxes to District 155?

Not necessarily.  In totality, D155’s existing tax base will see an increase of 2.1%. However, individual tax bills may go up or down based on housing assessments.  Community High School District 155 has no control over housing assessments or Equalized Assessed Value (EAV).

How will District 155’s proposed 2.1% tax increase impact…

...a $200,000 house:

2017 Tax Levy Discussion.jpg 

... a $250,000 house:

2017 Tax Levy Discussion-2.jpg 

a $300,000 house:

2017 Tax Levy Discussion-3.jpg 

Why does District 155 need to increase its tax levy?

Tax-caps are designed to keep up with inflation. Additionally, District 155 facilities have significant levels of deferred maintenance. D155 buildings and grounds need approximately $50 million of work over the next 10 fiscal years. District 155 has no mechanism to fund its capital improvements other than local taxpayer funds. Also, D155 currently has contracts in place that escalate through the 2018-2019 school year.

What is the timeline for the tax levy process?

  • October - Present/Approve Tentative Tax Levy

  • November - Approval Final Tax Levy

  • Spring of following year - Final property values become known - Tax rates are calculated

How is the district remaining fiscally responsible with my tax dollars?

The district operated “in the black” with operating revenues exceeding operating expenditures  for the last three fiscal years (FY15, FY16, FY17). The 2017-18 D155 Budget is balanced.  During the 2016-17 school year the district made personnel cuts including two administrators and approximately 14 teachers. Most building and departmental budgets also have been reduced for three consecutive years. Currently, D155 is exploring relocating its District Administration Center or its Haber Oaks Campus into an existing district facility.  

Why doesn’t the district spend its cash reserves?

Cash reserves are necessary to ensure fiscal stability in almost any organization. It is in the best interest of our students and community to maintain adequate cash reserves to provide an excellent education for all students in D155. Additionally, reserves help to withstand a fiscal downturn, fund unanticipated needs, improve an institution's credit rating, or simply fund operations if other anticipated revenues are not received timely.


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