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District 427 to debate, vote on $25.5M tax levy

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE –— Sycamore School District 427 board members will consider approving a $25.5 million property tax levy today.

That’s more than they have sought from taxpayers in recent years. Last year, board members unanimously approved  $24.8 million tax levy; in 2011, they approved a $24.2 million levy.

Board President Jim Dombek said the overall assessed value for property in the district has been falling in the past three years, so property tax rates have risen to make up the difference. Before tonight’s vote, board members will hold a public hearing.

“This is a process that’s been in place for many years and as state aid from Springfield declines, more and more of the burden for financing education is passed on to property owners,” Dombek said. 

The district is one of nine local taxing bodies in Sycamore that annually receive property tax revenue and receives the largest portion of the revenue at about 62 percent, according to city records. DeKalb County is the second largest at about 11 percent and Sycamore city the third at about 7 percent.

Dombek said district officials have been cutting expenses where they can, but they can only go so far and still keep school programs running. 

The district’s overall assessed value for property has fallen not only because the housing market hasn’t recovered but also because the assessed value is lagging. Property values are calculated on a three-year basis, so hopefully the values will be a little higher next year, Dombek said.

Property taxes make up the largest source of revenue for the district at about 63 percent, according to a PMA Financial Network assessment.

“Certainly state funding is lacking,” board member Barb King said, “so that’s one of the problems we have.”

If you go

What: Hearing and Adoption of the 2013 Property Tax Levy for Sycamore School District 427

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: South Prairie Elementary, 820 Borden Ave., Sycamore

For more information, call 815-899-8100.

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