D207 abates $1 million to taxpayers
Maine Township taxpayers will receive a $1 million tax abatement from High School District 207, a step approved by the Board of Education during its regular meeting on March 4.
The Board voted for the abatement based on a Finance Committee recommendation and an awareness that many District residents continue to feel the effects of slow national economic recovery and of continued unemployment or underemployment for many people in the community.
"District 207 is committed to providing quality education while exercising judicious stewardship of property tax dollars," said Board President Sean Sullivan. "The District has worked hard to consistently control spending in ways that do not diminish the high caliber of education that our community expects and values."
"Board member Ed Mueller deserves credit for consistently leading this cause over the last few years, and it is fitting that the board passed this tax relief as his service to the board member is ending. Finance Committee Chair Eric Leys worked with the Administration to find a plan that Board members Eldon Burk, Carla Owen, Margaret McGrath, and Donna Pellar could support," said Sullivan.
District 207 Superintendent Ken Wallace said: "One ongoing challenge in striking this balance is the uncertainty that all Illinois public schools face. We take a cautious approach in determining our annual levy because we do not know how the state’s contributions to local districts like 207 might change. Nor do we know whether or to what extent pension costs might be shifted to us. Even so, we believe our financial management and cost-containment efforts have put us in a position that we can make this tax abatement without compromising the quality of our education."
Wallace added that the Board, administration and staff are all dedicated to the importance of investing tax dollars wisely and appreciates the community’s support in those efforts. District 207 has realized savings recently by refinancing bonds and in the last few years has seen substantial cost savings in areas such as its purchase of supplies and its energy consumption.
This approach on long-term refinancing extends to larger projects. Currently, District 207 is embarking on a 10-year capital program to repair, maintain and upgrade all three District 207 high schools, which range in age from 49 to 82 years. Each needs work that has in some cases been postponed due to financial considerations. In the first year of this program, the District obtained highly favorable bids by requesting bids early, at a time when contractors were looking to lock in their primary projects for the summer.