NORMAL — Property taxes likely will remain stable or drop slightly for homeowners in McLean County Unit 5, assuming a minor increase to the district’s property tax base.
On Wednesday, the Unit 5 school board reviewed a tentative 2017 tax levy of nearly $113 million for taxes payable in 2018, showing a 2.97 percent increase over the 2016 levy of $109 million.
Unit 5 Business Manager Marty Hickman expects those numbers to change slightly once the final extension — the amount of property tax money the district actually receives after various adjustments such as legal limits on tax rates — is calculated in the spring.
Hickman anticipates the final extension to equal $110 million, an increase of 0.81 percent from 2016.
For the owner of a $165,000 home whose property value did not change from last year, the district’s share of the property tax bill should be about $2,753 — a drop of $5 from last year’s bill of $2,758.
Illinois public school districts rely heavily on local property tax revenue. At Unit 5, just over 61 percent of revenue for the education fund, which pays for most operating expenses, comes from property taxes, followed by 23 percent from state revenue, 8 percent from federal revenue and 8 percent from other local sources.
Unit 5 received more than $60 million in 2016 tax revenue for the education fund from property owners.
The levy is calculated based on the equalized assessed value (EAV) or total taxable value of property in the district. The estimated EAV for the Normal-based district tops $2.27 billion.
“The estimated growth to property is just less than 1 percent from the prior year. Most of that came from new construction, which was just over $19 million, up slightly from last year,” said Hickman.
The levy will be adopted in December.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved a “Welcoming Schools” resolution to ensure inclusivity and protection for all students in the district, especially those from immigrant families.
“Students and teachers were very passionate about this resolution,” said board member Tonya Leffler. “We believe it is in the best interest of our students and we’re very proud to be a part of it.”
The resolution, nearly identical to one passed by Bloomington District 87 in September, reiterates the national law declaring no public school can deny a child access to public education based on immigration status.
The district also states the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees could disrupt learning environments for students and, unless required by law, Unit 5 will not disclose any information about a student’s immigration status.