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Oakland Elementary School students talk about why they like their school during a Bloomington District 87 board meeting Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, at the district offices. 

BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington District 87 school board approved a total property tax levy of nearly $44.5 million Wednesday night and heard a presentation celebrating diversity at Oakland Elementary School.

The levy — the amount of money the district is seeking from property taxes — represents an increase of less than 1.7 percent over the current year's tax extension — the amount the district actually gets from the levy. The extension is calculated by multiplying a district's equalized assessed valuation — its total taxable value of property — by the property tax rate.

The levy is based on assumptions about what the district's EAV will be. A difference between the levy and the extension results when the projected values do not match actual property values.

The levy approved Wednesday is based on an assumption that property values will increase by 2 percent. Such an increase would result in a tax rate of about $5.12 per $100 EAV, compared to the current rate of $5.15 per $100 EAV.

However, Colin Manahan, the district's chief financial and facilities officer, said at the Oct. 24 meeting the growth in property value is likely to be “in the neighborhood of 0.4 percent,” which would result in a tax rate of $5.13 or $5.14 per $100 EAV.

The owner of a home valued at $165,000 pays $2,833 in District 87 property taxes when the rate is $5.15. About 63 percent of the district's revenue comes from property taxes.

Also at Wednesday's meeting, the school board recognized Oakland for its programs on diversity.

Principal David LaFrance said the school's 476 students are culturally and economically diverse. Some students have just arrived in the United States while others have parents and grandparents who attended District 87 schools, he said.

Corey Mattson, who teaches English as a Second Language, said more than 100 students at Oakland have a language background other than English. That background involves 27 different languages, he said.

LaFrance said, “Oakland School is part of a big community” that includes not only students, teachers and staff but also their families.

Many of those families attended the meeting, where their children sang a song about the different holidays they celebrate and several told why they liked their school.

Said one child: “The best thing about Oakland School is everybody is kind and nobody is left out.”

Contact Lenore Sobota at (309) 820-3240. Follow her on Twitter: @Pg_Sobota

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Education Reporter

Education Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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