Dist. 17 mulls tax abatement

Move could be response to rising rate, declining EAV

CHANNAHON — The Channahon District 17 school board held initial discussions last week on whether to give property tax abatements in the coming year.

The tax rate is likely to go up a good deal, according to the district’s finance director, Mike Schroeder — from $2.6807 to $2.8624 — due to an estimated $19.4 million decrease in equalized assessed valuation (EAV), absent valuation from new property.

The abatement being considered would put the new rate at around $2.7915. The tax rate will likely rise the following year, as well, he said, but the district may be in a financial position to lower the rate both years to lessen the hit on homeowners.

If the rates are lowered for the next two years, they would likely not be as high the following year due to a drop in debt, Schroeder said. Board members discussed the issue with administrators, but with three board members absent decided to wait until November to make the abatement decision. Absent were Julie Bankes, Jim Bogacz, and Derek Breen.

DISTRICT FINANCES

The board members last week also heard results of their independent auditor’s report show the district is in “a very strong financial position . . . in spite of the economy.”

Certified public accountant Scott Duenser, of Klein, Hall and Associates, LLC, presented an overview of his 2011-2012 audit report saying the district has a balanced budget, with a surplus of $13.6 million in its general fund for the time audited.

“Compared to a lot of other places I’ve visited, that’s something to be proud of, I think,” Duenser said.

The district also received a score of 4.0 in the Illinois State Board of Education’s financial ranking system, which Duenser said was very good. The district paid off approximately $1 million in debt this year.

In another finance-related matter, the board also approved participating in an energy-savings proposal from Electrical Solutions Network, Inc. for new lighting in Three Rivers School’s cafeteria. The cost is estimated to be $5,520, with a contributing grant of around $2,202.

According to Schroeder, the savings could amount to a 70 percent reduction in the watts/fixture, while giving more light to the room. The light will be better quality, Schroeder said, as it will be directed downward rather than being reflected off the ceiling.

The savings could be seen in a payback over about three years.

PERSONNEL MATTERS

The board also made some personnel decisions at its September meeting. Hired were Donna Crowder, as substitute café server, for $8.50/hour, and Kathryn McMillin, long-term substitute teacher at Pioneer Path School, for $90/day the first 15 days and $167.85/day thereafter.

Extra duty was approved for Kristi Bandy, as co-7th grade girls’ basketball coach, at $1,882 with TRS, and Dan Nyalka as assistant boys’ 6th grade basketball coach, at $1,318 with TRS.

Resignations were approved for substitute bus drivers Michelle Kokalj and Dawn Breen, for substitute custodians Robert Brockett, Richard Minnick and Cass Close, and for substitute nurse Cheryl Tutt.

An extra-duty resignation was accepted for Allison Garcia as 7th grade volleyball coach.

The school board also approved posting on the district’s website the itemized salary compensations for employees who have administrative certificates and work in that capacity and for other district employees who earn $75,000 or more in total compensation.

Board members also approved the district’s annual application for recognition of schools with the state board of education.

It was also announced at the meeting Tuesday, Sept. 25, was the first day candidates for the school board could pick up nominating petitions and circulate them for the April 9, 2013, election. Candidates may file petitions as early as Dec. 17 with the school board secretary.

Current District 17 school board members whose seats expire in the spring are Michael Geldean, Pat Clower, Derek Breen, and Joan Ferguson.