Members of the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education on Monday night approved a $3,561,741 levy for 2022 property taxes collectible in 2023. The levy proposal now goes to the County Clerk, who will determine the amount of tax revenue the school actually is entitled to receive on the basis of the current equalized assessed valuation and restrictions in place under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) approved by Macoupin County voters in 1995. PTELL generally restricts increases in the tax extension to no more than five percent or the consumer price index, whichever is less. For the first time since PTELL was enacted, this year’s consumer price index, essentially the rate of inflation, exceeded five percent. In theory, the district could capture a full five percent increase in property tax revenue for next year.
Supt. Shane Owsley presented a detailed PowerPoint regarding the proposed levy last month before it was placed on file for a public review. Because the proposed levy exceeded last year’s tax extension by more than five percent, the board was required to conduct a public hearing Monday night before voting to approve the levy. The hearing, as usual, was more of a formality since no members of the public appeared before the board to ask questions or comment on the levy proposal.
The board typically levies for more than the district actually is entitled to receive in order to maximize property tax revenue. The levy request, for example, exceeds last year’s tax extension of $3,186,897 by more than $400,000. With the application of tax caps, however, the district expects to receive no more than $3,375,869 of the $3,561,741 it is requesting.
Broken down by fund, the proposed levy seeks to generate $1,568,864 for the Education Fund, $410,370 for Operations and Maintenance, $166,244 for Transportation, $37,722 for Working Cash, $109,322 for IMRF, $98,890 for Social Security, $222,459 for the Tort Fund, $30,395 for Special Education, and $917,475 for the Bond and Interest Fund.
The levy was unanimously approved on a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Board President Mark Hayes.
Following an executive session of nearly three hours to discuss personnel, the board voted unanimously to reappoint the entire fall sports coaching staff for the 2023-24 school year.
Board members also voted to hire Amanda Manley for a six-hour food service position at BenGil Elementary School, Cara Schalk for a six-hour food service shift at Gillespie High School/Middle School, Brad Snyder for a three-hour food service spot at BenGil Elementary School, and Janice Allan for a three-hour food service shift at the high school/middle school.
The board also voted unanimously to hire Lance Jarman as a substitute bus driver.
In other action, the board voted unanimously to transfer $75,000 from the district’s Occupation Retail Tax Fund to the Bond and Interest Fund, and to abate the same amount in property taxes revenue for 2022. The action, taken annually for the past several years, keeps the board’s commitment to use 20 percent of money received from a school facilities sales tax approved by voters several years ago to pay down bonds sold to finance construction of the BenGil Elementary School.