Dist 117 Certifies 2021 Tax Levy

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 17, 2021 at 2:23pm

The Jacksonville District 117 School Board certified the annual tax levy for the upcoming year during the December meeting Wednesday night.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says the levy is the standard amount the Board requests every year. He says District 117 balloons the amount requested to the full 5% cap that is allowed.

Ptacek says the intention is to capture any new construction in the district that the assessor has not already seen. Ptacek says the reasoning behind the full ask on the tax levy is due to the Consumer Price Index, and just because the district asks for the full amount, does not mean that is what it will receive.

Because once again what it comes down to in the long run is whatever was paid last year, we set a cap by CPI, and CPI is nowhere near five percent. So we ask for that but we never get it, it’s statutory set. But what would happen is if we don’t balloon it, and say a windmill comes in, and some property tax from the windmill comes in and we didn’t balloon it enough, we lose that property tax forever.

So we are always going to balloon the levy to try and capture any new construction, but us ballooning it doesn’t increase anyone’s property tax because that is going to be established, the whole pool, by what was paid last year with an increase by CPI. Now, individual people, the assessor’s office might determine that there are different assessments across the city and throughout the county but we are only concerned about the whole overall pool.”

The Board approved the tax levy certification by unanimous vote.

In other business, the Board approved a memorandum of understanding for bus driver salary and bonuses, as well as language concerning shuttle usage and routes. Ptacek says the MOU comes from a collective effort by all involved to help attract and retain enough drivers needed to transport kids to school.

He says the transportation staff has been an integral part of the process to help keep staffing at a sufficient level at a time when almost every school district is facing a driver shortage.

Also approved was the purchase of two used handicap accessible buses, one used activity bus, and the Board approved the continuation of a lease agreement for two buses used for the Early Years program.

Ptacek says the lease company reached out to the district to inquire if it wanted to extend the lease or purchase the vehicles outright, and after researching the option, a purchase would cost the district $50,000 whereas continuing the lease agreement for another year would cost $14,000.