An estimated tax levy that will provide the bulk of District 209’s funding in the next year seeks to collect some $46.6 million in property taxes, roughly $1.5 million more than what the high schools received in 2006. The bulk of the requested amount, $37.7 million, will be drawn into the education fund to pay for classroom materials, teacher salaries and many of the district’s contracted services.

Another $4.9 million will be collected for debt payments and certain building improvements, however, that amount is determined by the county. In total, District 209 is anticipating $51,522,273 in property taxes in 2008.

Schools, municipalities and other taxing bodies across the state recently approved their estimated tax levies in accordance with state law. The dollar amounts depicted in each levy represents those funds that the taxing organizations hope to collect, and is not necessarily what will be received.

Property owners in Cook County are protected by several caps that limit the year-to-year increase in their tax bills. Like other taxing bodies, Proviso Township High School District 209 can collect only an additional 5 percent in new property tax revenue over the previous year’s total. If that mark is exceeded, the district is obligated to hold an additional public hearing.

No such hearing was necessary for Proviso’s 2007 levy amount.

Board members approved the estimated levy at a Dec. 17 meeting with a sweeping vote that ratified all of the action items on that night’s agenda. No discussion was held on the subject, however, several pages of financial reports and supporting information were received by the board from administrators.

Forest Park is one of 10 communities that pay taxes into the district to support its three high school campuses. Since July, administrators have been warning of a projected multi-million dollar deficit that will be realized at the end of the fiscal year in June. Originally, that figure was pegged at $14 million, but with a series of ongoing cuts school officials are now projecting a deficit of $10 million. District 209 anticipated $66.5 million in revenues as part of its original budget projections.