District 207 approves 4.1 percent tax-levy hike
Maine Township High School District 207 Board President Sean Sullivan addresses the board during a Dec. 3 meeting. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 5, 2012 2:22PM
PARK RIDGE — Some members of Maine Township High School District 207’s Board of Education who voted in support of a proposed 2012 property-tax levy during a meeting on Dec. 3 said they did so with reluctance.
The School Board approved a levy totaling $109.1 million which is an increase of 4.1 percent.
According to a report provided by the district, for an existing property that has an annual tax bill of $8,000, taxes distributed to District 207 account for about 25 percent of total bill. The tax levy is expected to increase District 207’s portion of the tax bill by 3 percent or $60 annually. But this amount could change based on the change in assessment determined by the Cook County Assessor.
Last year the tax levy that was approved showed an increase of 3.1 percent, but the actual amount the district received was 2.1 percent. Assistant Superintendent for Business Mary Kalou said District 207 will again receive less than the amount sought.
Kalou said this year the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines is fully assessed as new property so the district levied over the 3 percent Consumer Price Index in order to capture the new growth.
“I think we should be holding the line on taxes,” said Board Member Edward Mueller who cast the only dissenting vote.
“I will be reluctantly supporting it,” added Board Member Eric Leys who voted in favor of the levy, but only due to the potential shift in the state’s pension obligations to local school districts.
Board Members Eldon Burk and Margaret McGrath also said they were reluctantly approving the increase.
Burk said he felt that with the pension obligations possibly shifting from the state to local school districts it was not the time to avoid a tax increase. He added that he did not want to see any programs cut or students impacted negatively.
Board President Sean Sullivan, who voted in favor of the property-tax levy increase, said if Board Members did not vote for the increase they should instead try to come up with new ways to reduce the district’s budget. Sullivan said if members do not do this it is almost like “violating the oath” of being a board member.
Mueller responded that he felt it was also a violation of the oath not to protect the interest of taxpayers. He said there are different ways to reduce costs, such as reducing the district’s fund balance.
Also at the School Board meeting Sullivan addressed the recent student allegations of sexual assault and “hazing” involving members of the Maine West High School soccer team.
“We are hiring a private investigator to scrutinize every aspect of the matter,” Sullivan announced.
Sullivan also said the district will require all students and coaches to sign an anti-hazing pledge and focus groups with administration, staff, parents and students will be conducted. District 207 will also create a district hotline so students can report any incidents.
There was no public comment regarding the matter.