Unit 40 Board Passes Fiscal Year Tax Levy for 2017


Published on November 14 2016 8:32 pm
Last Updated on November 14 2016 8:32 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Effingham Unit 40 school board members Monday passed the tax levy for the coming fiscal year.

The new tax rate for the district will be 3.5734, which is lower than the past year's rate of 3.61306 and continues a trend in recent years of lower rates.

The district's equalized assessed value has increased an average of 4.6%, so even with a lower tax rate the district could see an increase in revenue. It was also noted that for the first time in eight years, the district's General State Aid is up.

Unit 40 Superintendent Mark Doan noted that 59% of the school district's revenue comes from property taxes. In reviewing the levy proposal, Doan said the district's tax rate has trended lower each year since 2008 and said Education Fund expenses have dropped each year since 2013.

The vote to approve the levy was 4-1, with board member Jane Willenborg voting No. She said people can't pay increased taxes.

The Board discussed its list of infrastructure projects and how to proceed on whittling down the list. A special meeting will be scheduled to address deferred maintenance and how to pay for it.

Doan noted the district faces $750,000 to $1 million in health and life safety work that has to be completed. Board member Brian Wick said the plumbing and electrical systems at the junior high building have been patched time and again and need a permanent solution.

District Curriculum Director Michelle Beck spoke to the board about testing and scores, but suggested it's difficult to compare scores in recent years, either in district or with other districts. One reason is that Illinois districts have had to switch the tests they're administering. First, the ACT test was utilized. Then, for two years, it was the PARCC test. Now, the state awarded the bid for testing to the SAT test.

Another factor to consider, Beck said, is that some variation is being seen dependent upon whether the tests are taken with paper and pencil or online.

Beck also reviewed the district's report card from the State. The card is posted on the district's website.

The Board learned that the Unit 40 Foundation chose its officers at a meeting Monday evening. Robin Klosterman is the new Foundation Board President, while Chad Chojnicki is the vice-president, Angie Byers the secretary, and Sid Kibler the treasurer. Foundation Advisor Todd Schuette said Breakfast With Santa will be held December 3, and said the Trick or Trivia fundraiser cleared $10,000.

In personnel matters, the Unit 40 board appointed Jackie Haarmann the high school junior prom sponsor. Leaves of absence were accepted from Irene Stumeier, Robin Imburgia and Patria Clough and the leave of Janie Sapp was extended. Family and Medical Leave Act leaves were approved for Marina Zaring, Emily Quast, and Roland O'Leary, and Emily Quast's resignation was accepted as high school fall play director.