The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

October 19, 2013

D118 considers holding line on taxes

Expects 3.6 percent EAV decrease

The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Members of the Danville School District 118 board will consider a 2013 tax levy proposal Wednesday in which the district would collect no new dollars.

Of the four scenarios presented to the district’s finance committee earlier this week, Option 2 is the one that will be recommended to the full school board on Wednesday, Superintendent Mark Denman said.

Option 2 proposes the district collect no new tax dollars beyond the amount it collected this year. The 2013 tax rate, payable in 2014, would be set at $5.31 per $100 equalized assessed valuation (EAV), which would be an increase of 0.04 percent in tax revenue compared with the current year’s tax rate of $5.06 per $100 EAV. Even if the district levies for a 0 percent increase or decrease, it still will collect 3.6 percent less funds than this year because of a projected 3.6 percent decrease in property values.

Denman said if the board members agree with this tax levy proposal, the district would have to adjust its non-restricted funds in its budget to cover expenditures since no new additional money would be coming into the district’s coffers. The district would use its current fund balances to cover the difference until the fund balances are depleted.

Under this scenario, the amount of reserve funds that would be left by June 2014 is as follows: zero left in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund; the Social Security Fund would be reduced by $576,000, leaving a fund balance of $976,184, however, that ending fund balance would not be enough to cover expenditures during the 2014-15 school year and would require the district to borrow from the Education Fund; and Tort would be reduced by $441,000, leaving a fund balance of $711,583. Similarly, the ending fund balance in Tort would not be enough to cover expenditures during the 2014-15 school year and would require the district to borrow from the Education Fund.

With this tax levy proposal, the owner of a $66,500 home could see a range between a $5 decrease to an increase of $39 on his or her tax bill next year depending on whether the value of the property decreases.

Business director Heather Smith told the district’s finance committee the county assessor estimates a 3.6 percent decrease in the district’s EAV for 2013, which includes a 6 percent decrease in Danville Township, a 4 percent increase in Blount Township, 0 percent increase/decrease in Catlin and Newell townships, 10 percent increase in farmland, a loss of $2.96 million in EAV from Carle because they are now tax exempt and additional EAV losses due to increased exemptions.

According to Smith, the district has lost $2.75 million in potential property tax revenue since 2008 due to the declining EAV during the same time period.

Board members are expected to vote to place the proposed tax levy on public display to collect input for 30 days. Thirty days will not have passed by the time of the board’s Nov. 13 meeting, so board members most likely will vote on the proposed levy at their Dec. 11 meeting.

Also on Wednesday, board members will:

+ Consider applying with the Illinois State Board of Education for recognition of schools, which entails proof of licensure of the district’s paraprofessionals.

+ Review the first reading of an updated curriculum for driver’s education.

+ Consider approving a job description for food service assistant monitor. The position entails food service duties as well as monitoring elementary schoolchildren in the cafeteria and on the playground. Denman said the position doesn’t have the lifting requirements that other food service worker positions have in which workers must be able to lift and unload boxes of food.

+ Consider approving a recommendation that the district should apply for a $250,000 school energy efficiency project grant from the ISBE.

“The ISBE has $250,000 available, and we’re writing the application for the replacement of the western windows at the high school,” Denman said. “I imagine there will be a lot of competition for it.”

+ Spend the remainder of the meeting in closed session for a Targeting Achievement through Governance training session, a requirement of the $6 million federal School Improvement Grant administered through the ISBE.

Board members will conduct a self-evaluation, Denman said.

Board members must participate in seven Targeting Achievement through Governance training sessions during the next 18 months – four sessions this school year and three sessions next school year. Each three- to four-hour session will be held during school board meetings on Feb. 26 and May 28 this school year.

COMING UP The District 118 school board will hold its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St.