District 68 sets $24 million tax levy
Jane Stenson School fifth grade teacher Lisa Nimz teaches math to a class in this file photo from January of 2011. District 68 has proposed a $24 million levy for 2012-13. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:04PM
SKOKIE — School District 68 has set its proposed 2012-13 tax levy at $24 million not including the bond and interest fund, a 4 percent hike over last year’s levy.
Yet, the Cook County property tax cap makes the amount set by the district or any district somewhat moot. Each school district is limited in the amount of property tax revenue it receives because of the cap, which is 3 percent this year.
Since the cap does not include new growth during the year, districts often estimate on the high side so as not to leave any potential revenue on the table.
District 68 Business Manager Beth Millard said the $24 million levy the district is seeking – nearly $26.2 million with bond and interest – is not near what it will be receiving.
“I don’t think we’ll get that in a million years,” she said.
This year’s proposed levy is based on $25 million in new growth, which Millard admits is unlikely to be close to reality.
No school district in Skokie has benefitted from new property growth more than District 68, which includes Westfield Old Orchard and other retailers, as well as the Optima condominiums. The district saw large amounts of revenue in pre-recession years but that amount has significantly dropped during the last few years.
In a pre-recession year, the district took in a record high $58 million in new development, but more recently it saw only a quarter or so of that amount.
Millard said the district levy should have minimal impact on taxpayers’ bills.
The School Board is not required to hold a public hearing on the levy prior to its Dec. 18 vote because the requested increase is less than 5 percent.
The education fund, where day-to-day spending occurs, is the largest in the district with a levy amount set at $18.1 million.
Others funds include the operation and maintenance fund levy at nearly $2.6 million, the transportation fund levy at $840,000, the social security and Medicare fund levy at $620,000, the Illinois Municipal Retirement levy at $510,000, the tort immunity levy at $340,000, the special education/Medicare levy at $910,000 and the working cash levy at $100,000.