Concerns about escalating property taxes dominated discussion at a Grayslake Elementary District 46 forum Wednesday.
Chris Bobek, District 46's assistant superintendent of business and finance, began the session in a Grayslake Area Public Library meeting room with a tutorial on how tax levies work.
Bobek later told the roughly 20 people in attendance the Lake County assessment office has been raising property values within the district. He said that means residents could wind up paying higher taxes, despite the fact that District 46's levy has risen by less than 1 percent.
"From last year to this year, our portion is very small," he said.
During the question-and-answer portion, Grayslake resident and former state Sen. Bill Morris said District 46 should freeze its property tax levy for next year. He said he was speaking on behalf of his neighbors in the Carillon North active adult community who are concerned about escalating taxes.
Morris cited declining enrollment as one reason District 46 needs less money.
"Unfortunately, District 46, like many other school districts, feels it is entitled to a tax increase for simply being in business one more year," he said. "That is no way to run a business."
Other residents echoed concerns about the district's rising property taxes, which typically account for 40 percent of a bill. One woman said her latest tax bill jumped by $2,500.
Property taxes were an issue two weeks ago when some township assessors questioned why Lake County has kept them out of the most recent valuation process. The township assessors contended that their lack of input resulted in across-the-board percentage increases set by Chief Assessment Officer Martin Paulson's office, which could lead to higher property taxes.
Tuesday, a small group of residents protested rising property taxes at the Lake County treasurer's office by paying their taxes with stacks of $1 bills.
Meanwhile, former District 46 school board member Kip Evans asked during Wednesday's session whether enough is being done to keep down costs. That led Bobek to a slide showing a decline in District 46's per-pupil expenditures.
District per-pupil costs were $10,711 in the last academic year, down from $11,247. The most recently available figures show it was below the state per-student cost of $10,934 and the county cost of $13,491.
School board member David Northern complimented Bobek and Superintendent Ellen Correll for hosting the second tax levy forum in an effort to increase community outreach.