Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board members voted 6-1 Thursday to set a 2.4 percent increase in the district's tentative property tax levy.
Board member Pete Dombrowski said he was disappointed the increase, which would create a $222.8 million levy for the 2018-19 fiscal year, comes without a discussion of any flexibility in the district's five-year plan or reducing the scope of its anticipated capital improvements.
"There are always ways to cut costs," Dombrowski said. "Just because we can do something doesn't mean we should."
Dombrowski believes such levy increases are the reason state officials in Springfield are discussing measures to further limit local governments' ability to raise property taxes. School district increases already are limited to 5 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower, plus an allowance for new construction.
Fellow board member Anna Klimkowicz said she's not enthused about the 2.4 percent levy increase. But it was precisely because of the talk of further restrictions in Springfield that she voted to approve it, giving the district funding it will need soon.
She hopes next year's levy could see little or no increase.
"I think we have been very prudent and I think we will continue to be," Klimkowicz said.
District 211's staff calculated the increase homeowners in Hoffman Estates, Palatine and Schaumburg would likely see on their tax bills from the 2.4 percent increase.
In Hoffman Estates, where the median home value is $252,300, the owner of such a home would pay $48 more to District 211 next year. The median home value in Palatine is $266,700, carrying with it an extra $51 to the school district. Schaumburg's median home value is $233,400, bringing an additional $43 on next year's tax bill.
As District 211 will pay off all its remaining debt this year, the 2.4 percent increase is based solely on the current inflation rate of 2.1 percent and a 0.3 percent increase in anticipated new development and redevelopment.
The school board is expected to vote on final approval of the levy at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the district's headquarters, 1750 S. Roselle Road in Palatine.