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posted: 11/15/2013 5:30 AM

Palatine-Schaumburg Dist. 211 proposes increasing tax levy 1.2%

Final vote on $212 million tax plan to come next month

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The Palatine-Schaumburg District 211 school board voted 5-2 to approve the proposed 2013 property tax levy after hearing disgruntled residents speak out against it for a second time Thursday.

About 20 residents showed their disapproval of the proposed levy and to voice other concerns they have with the district's reserves and the board of education.

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"The administration's job, one could argue, is to get as much money as possible. But the board, you're elected to represent the entire community, everybody. You're supposed to think critically what the administration is asking and think about everybody in the community," said Vicky Wilson of Palatine, adding that she thinks seniors on limited income are hit especially hard when the levy is raised.

The levy is the amount of property tax revenue the district is requesting from taxpayers. Local property taxes account for 86 percent of the district's total revenue.

The 2013 proposed levy is 2.2 percent, or $4.6 million higher, than the 2012 levy extension. It includes an increase of 1.7 percent in accordance with the tax limit tied to the rate of inflation for this year, along with a 0.2 percent increase from access to new property, which is the result of the expiration of the Olde Schaumburg tax increment financing district that limits the amount of tax money going to local governments.

In addition, the board is being asked to approve a two-year extension of a debt payoff plan in order to provide a $2 million decrease in the 2013 and 2014 levies.

Factoring in the lower levy to pay debt and the $2 million abatement, the total 2013 levy will amount to $212.2 million, an increase of $2.5 million -- or 1.2 percent -- over the total 2012 levy.

Mark Evenson of Palatine and other residents said they don't approve of the district holding reserves beyond the customary 33 percent of the next budget year's expenditures.

"The fund balance we consider to be, quite honestly, the elephant in the room," he said.

Board members Anna Klimkowicz and Mike Scharringhausen voted "no" on the proposed tax levy. A final vote by the board is set for Dec. 12, after a public hearing.

"I really support that we have to have at least six months' worth of money to cover our expenditures," Klimkowicz said. "I also believe that we have to have the funds available to maintain our buildings and to give the students what they need.

"But I'm thinking at this point, maybe we need to have more discussions about funding, about the finances, and again, being proactive with the legislators to see what relief we can provide for the community and still maintain the great things we do for our students."

More information about the tax levy is available at www.boarddocs.com/il/thsd211/Board.nsf/Public.

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