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D65 eyes tax hikes of up to 13 percent

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A typical Evanston homeowner could end up paying as much as $400 a year more in property taxes under tax referendum proposals to be considered by the School District 65 finance committee tonight.

The board members will discuss a variety of scenarios for referenda to either raise operating funds to close projected deficits, build a new school or do both.

And, even with the biggest proposed hike in taxes to operate existing facilities — $6 million — the proposals would still leave a projected $1.7 million budget deficit by school year 2015-16, down from a projected $8.7 million if nothing is done.

The district's chief financial officer, Mary Brown, has prepared a series of scenarios for board members to consider:

  • Additional operating tax levies for existing schools of $3 million, $4 million or $6 million.
  • Additional operating funds for a proposed new school of $1.6 million, $2 million or $2.5 million.
  • Building a new school and carrying out other capital improvement projects at a previously projected cost of $48.2 million.

She also calculated the property tax impact of the scenarios on owners of homes valued at various price points.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the median market price of an Evanston home at $367,000. Under Brown's projections, hat typical homeowner would face a tax increase of slightly over $400 a year if voters approved raising $6 million in operating funds for existing schools, $2.5 million to operate the new school and $48.2 million and bonds to build the new school and complete the other capital improvement projects.

The owner of a median priced home in Evanston now pays over $3,000 a year in property taxes to District 65, so the potential increase would be as much as 13 percent.

The finance committee meets at 6 p.m. at the district administration building, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

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