District 202 Board of Education tax levy hearing Monday night.

When it comes to inflation, things have “really run wild.”

But that runner has to wear a 5% cap.

That was the message Monday night to the Evanston Township High School Board of Education.

District 202 held the legally required public hearing on its proposed tax levy increase, and, as with most such hearings, no one from the public showed up to speak.

Still, Interim Chief Financial Officer Kendra Williams outlined the state’s school revenue rules, at a time when inflation has “well exceeded 5%.”

Here’s how those rules work:

School districts can raise property tax revenue either by the rate of increase in the consumer price index, or by 5% …whichever is less.

Last year, the CPI was only 1.4%, so that was the hike.

For this year, the inflation rate is more than 7%, but state law caps the increase at 5%.

The intent is to prevent property tax sticker shock for the public. But the cap also puts school districts in a bind, when, say, the cost of construction and supplies outstrips the increase in revenue.

Williams said the proposed 5% hike would cost the owner of a $620,000 single-family home, which she said was the average sale price in Evanston last year, an additional $198 per year, out of the homeowner’s total property tax bill from various government agencies of $15,509.

The District 202 board will vote on the levy request next month, which is expected to bring in $81 million.

The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board also found out about its proposed levy Monday night, and it’s tax hike is also capped at 5%.

District 65 Board meeting Monday night.

However, District 65 won’t hold it’s required public hearing until next month, followed by a vote, so there was no discussion at this meeting on how much more might come out of your wallet for District 65.

But, since D202 accounts for about 26% of an Evanston property owner’s tax bill and D65 accounts for 41%, you can figure that the increased D65 tax for a $620,000 home next year would be about $325.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  1. I know there is high inflation but my understanding is that school enrollment is on the decline and neither of the districts have reduced head count accordingly. In fact, my recollection is that administrative headcount has continued to increase.

  2. Fewer students. More administrators. A brand new school with staff being paid several years in advance. A 5th ward school to serve Black students but demographics have changed and it will further gentrify the neighborhood. Deferred maintenance on existing schools. Poor test scores. Have I missed anything? Oh, yes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for round the clock secret “security” for the superintendent because his car was vandalized. It could have been random but that wasn’t explored.

    I don’t think the schools respect our money. I have supported our schools but D65 has lost its way. ETHS has traditionally been better but their staff and board also sneak in payments/payoffs when there was wrongdoing.

  3. This article says District 65 will hold its required public hearing next month, followed by a vote. Presumably that is the December 19 Regular Board Meeting. (There is also a Finance Committee meeting scheduled for December 12). Residents should attend and voice their opinions.

  4. This is going to make me sound terribly naive I’m sure, but how the heck can a property owner keep track of the meetings that affect our tax bill? Was I supposed to sign up for notices about what the school districts are doing? If so, where?

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