Palatine District 15 considering $93 million tax-hike request this fall
Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 officials are considering a $93 million tax-hike request on the Nov. 8 ballot that, if approved, would fund half a proposed $186 million improvement plan called Moving 15 Forward.
Among the changes envisioned are converting the district's junior highs to middle schools, turning Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Hoffman Estates into one of those middle schools, bringing full-day kindergarten to every elementary school, maintenance upgrades to aging facilities, some adjustments to attendance boundaries, and better aligning feeder schools with high schools in Palatine Schaumburg High School District 211.
The proposed tax increase that would be sought in the referendum is 28% smaller than the tax-hike request voters rejected in 2016, officials said.
Under the new proposal, the tax hike would last an estimated 20 years to pay off the debt from a $93 million bond issue. During that time, the owner of a $100,000 house would pay an additional $36 per year in property taxes. The increase would be $139 a year for the owner of a $300,000 house, and $242 more annually for a $500,000 house, according to district calculations.
The other $93 million to pay for the plan would come from existing district funds and revenue sources.
The details of proposed attendance boundary changes can be seen by comparing the maps at ccsd15.net/Page/10342.
Officials said it's too early in the process for any decisions on whether students can remain at their current schools if and when boundary changes are made.
Also among the envisioned changes is the elimination of the bilingual overlay that has existed for more than 30 years. Officials said that while the overlay was a well-intentioned plan to promote integration at less diverse schools, it's resulted in a large number of bilingual students attending different schools than their neighborhood peers.
Superintendent Laurie Heinz said the plan prioritizes what's best for students while also reflecting what's been learned from residents of the seven communities served by District 15 and being respectful of limited financial resources.
"Moving 15 Forward is a bold plan that sets District 15 up for long-range growth and brings us back to our continuous improvement roots," Heinz said in a statement. "It's a community-driven effort that identifies and focuses on the highest priority educational needs of our students and the facilities' needs of our district.
"The proposed improvements would benefit students in all 20 of our schools, and would repair and restore District 15's more than 1.7 million square feet of school facilities."
The district has scheduled community meetings at its schools from this week through May 25 to provide more information about its plans. The public is invited to attend any session, but it's recommended participants attend one at their neighborhood school for details specific to that building.
For a list of these meetings, frequently asked questions, video presentations and other information about the Moving 15 Forward plan, visit ccsd15.net/Moving15Forward.