'The board's trying to be responsible': Big Hollow uses $500,000 in reserves to shave tax levy
Taxpayers in Big Hollow Elementary District 38 got an early holiday present from the school board.
The school board in two actions Monday agreed not to take as much as they could to give taxpayers a break on their bills payable in 2023. School officials did not have an estimate on how much an average taxpayer will save.
"It's unique and the board's trying to be responsible," said Superintendent Bob Gold.
One of the actions involved the next scheduled debt payment on bonds issued to build the three-school campus at Wilson and Nippersink roads in unincorporated Ingleside in the early 2000s.
The payment was set to increase from $5 million to $5.5 million. Instead of levying the full amount needed to cover the bill, school officials opted to use $500,000 in cash reserves to make up the difference.
"This year, let's use some reserves and abate the $500,000," Gold said of the board's decision.
The district had about $14.4 million in reserves as of June 30.
Debt payments on money borrowed by issuing bonds will account for about $5.5 million of the $17.5 million total levied by District 38 in property taxes payable in 2023.
That will change next year with the last scheduled bond payment of about $1 million.
"After that, we'll be debt free," he said.
In another action, the district opted not to levy as much as it could have as a result of inflation. Year over year tax levy increases are limited to the lesser of 5% or the Consumer Price Index, whichever is lower. The CPI this year is 7%.
"With the CPI so high, there was an opportunity to take our levy above 5%," according to Gold.
But district officials levied slightly below that, leaving $160,000 on the table, so to speak.
According to a district estimate, a tax levy increase of 5% from 2021 to 2022 will cost the owner of a home valued at $250,000 an additional $108.
Big Hollow serves about 1,700 students from Fox Lake, Round Lake, Lakemoor and Volo.