Dist. 87 gets 58 percent of its revenues from property taxes. (B. Corbin/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - Add District 87 to the local governments increasing the tax rate because of a projected drop in home values.
Administrator David Wood said the district is asking for a six cent increase in the tax rate, so the owner of a $150,000 home would pay $30 more. He said because the home values are going down a projected two percent in McLean County, the homeowner will really pay $17 less.
"A higher rate, a lower value to the property, they pay more for the rate, less for the property. In total, they'll pay less, about $17 or $18 less," Wood said. "So every taxpayer will pay less than they did last year, even though the rate is going up six cents."
Looking at it from another way, homeowners would pay $47 less this year if there was no change to the tax rate.
Within the specific levied funds, district officials are considering increasing the working cash fund, which can be used for anything in the district, to the maximum rate of five cents. It's a penny now.
"If you didn't ask for that, the rate would still be up, but not anywhere near as much. It would be up maybe a penny instead of six cents," Wood said.
The district is facing a $2.7 million budget deficit this fiscal year and is going though the process of a deficit reduction plan. The board will hold a public hearing on the tax levy in December.
Fall housing report
Administrators Herschel Hannah and Cindy Helmers also gave the school board specific numbers within the schools of District 87 this fall. There are 5,702 students in all schools this year, compared to 5,574 last year and they are predicting 5,705 next year.
Helmers and Hannah specifically broke down the schools that are involved in school choice, where parents can pick another Dist. 87 school to send their student. Hannah said Bent Elementary, which has about 20 more students this year, is involved in the choice program, but most of that is attributed to bilingual students picking the school.
There's a jump in attendance at Oakland Elementary school, which houses 537 students this year compared to 502 last year and is up from 377 five years ago. Helmers said the building is reaching capacity.
And, Washington Elementary is at max, with 527 students this year, 501 students last year and 482 students five years ago. Hannah said there is no more room at Washington and they are looking at solutions.
This is the second year for the Dist. 87 school choice program.