Members of the District 91 Board of Education unanimously approved a 4.94 percent tax levy increase for 2018, although taxpayers will see a much lower ask on their final bill. 

The district’s total 2018 levy request is around $16.2 million, which is slightly above last year’s final tax extension of $15.4 million. The district estimated that new property taxes will access an equalized assessed value (EAV) of $10 million, which is above what Assistant Superintendent Ed Brophy expects the actual EAV to be. 

At the November school board meeting, Brophy said the district intentionally estimates a high value for the EAV so it can capture as much as possible in new revenue. The state does not publish the equalization factor until around April of each year, which is after the annual December due date for taxing bodies to submit their levies. The district is subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, which limits property tax levy increases to 5 percent or the consumer price index (CPI), whichever is lower. 

“What we ask for, we know, is always more than what we actually receive,” said Brophy. “The assumption that’s used for EAV for new property will likely be nowhere near $10 million. So if I had to estimate, just purely estimate, the increase won’t be 4.94 percent, it’ll be closer to 2.1 or 2.3, closer to the consumer price index.”

CPI is currently at 2.1 percent. 

Eighty-eight percent of the district’s revenue comes from property taxes, and the majority, or $13.3 million is spent on instruction and instructional support. D91’s projected revenue for fiscal year 2019 is $17.7 million. The fiscal year runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. The taxes from the 2018 levy are collected in 2019.

“The good news is our EAV has increased in the last two years, whereas for six consecutive years it was decreasing. Now it’s starting to rebound, which is a very positive sign for not just us, but for all the community,” Brophy said. 

Nona Tepper