The Palatine Township Elementary District 15 school board Wednesday approved a resolution estimating its 2010 tax levy at $109.3 million, exclusive of debt service.
That's 4.99 percent more than last year, an increase just below the 5 percent threshold that requires a public hearing under Illinois' Truth in Taxation law. Still, District 15 will hold a public hearing on the issue at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 in the boardroom at Sundling Junior High, 1100 N. Smith St., Palatine.
Board members Sue Quinn and Tim Millar believed the levy amount was set too high, saying state tax cap regulations limit the increase to the current 2.7 percent rate of inflation, plus tax revenue from new construction. They feared public perception would be that homeowners will pay far more than that.
"People don't understand school finance because it's difficult and it gives the impression that the schools are getting more money than they are, and that doesn't help us," Quinn said.
She eventually voted in favor of the resolution, saying the number won't affect the amount of revenue the district sees and that the amount wasn't as "egregious as in the past."
Millar opposed it, saying he'd prefer a 3.7 or 3.9 percent increase over 2009.
Assistant Superintendent Mike Adamczyk said District 15 could miss out on capturing those new construction dollars by setting the levy too low. He said some school districts such as Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 and Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 try to "guesstimate" their levies to more realistic levels, while others "balloon their levies."
For instance, the Community Unit District 300 school board in Carpentersville this week set its 2010 levy at 36 percent over last year, saying it ensures the district will secure all taxes available to it.