At Tuesday night's regular meeting, the Community High School District 128 Board of Education reaffirmed the action taken at its special meeting on Jan. 14 to abate $4 million from the district’s 2013 tax levy.
At the special meeting, the board voted 5-1 for the tax abatement, which will offset the 3 percent tax levy request the board approved in December. This is the second consecutive year the district has approved a tax abatement. The 2012 abatement was in the amount of $2 million.
The decision to seek a second tax abatement came after months of discussion between the board and administration regarding the district’s strategic financial plan. In light of the current economic climate, coupled with the stable financial state of the district, the board once again agreed that it was important and necessary to help ease the heavy burden realized by District 128 taxpayers.
“I’m grateful that our board has continued place a high priority on ensuring we use our taxpayers dollars wisely,” noted Board of Education President Pat Groody. “Thanks to our on-going efforts to control district spending, and based on our long-range financial modeling, we’re confident we can avoid a significant increase in taxes and still deliver the 'best in class' academic programs we offer in D128.”
“Our board, our administration, our teachers and our staff all appreciate how important it is for us to be good stewards of our taxpayer funding, and we greatly appreciate everyone’s support in making sure we are successful at doing what we need to do while simultaneously being sensitive to the on-going economic challenges many of the businesses and citizens in our district continue to face,” Groody said.
The board is unanimous about its commitment to its students, employees and taxpayers. Furthermore, the board is protective of the value of an excellent education, the great reputation, and the outstanding sense of community Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools bring to the area.
One board member dissented on the vote on the basis that the timing is not right for the district to give up funds. According to Board Member Alex Delli Paoli Jr., “The state debt solutions and their impact on District 128 need to become apparent before funds are released back to taxpayers.” Delli Paoli also noted that in the best-case scenario, the district could return even more funds to taxpayers in the future. In the worst-case scenario, the district could face a depletion of funds potentially accelerated by the state’s precarious financial condition, unfunded and underfunded mandates, and additional pension reform costs.
Superintendent Dr. Prentiss Lea lauded “the board’s detailed financial planning work with administration to ensure a foundation that supports high quality, high performing high schools while being prudent stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
—Community High School District 128 provided this information.