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Kaneland School Board OKs tax levy increase

Updated: January 14, 2014 11:32AM

With two dissenting votes, the Kaneland School Board approved a $52.2 million tax levy for 2013, an increase of 4.58 percent from the previous year.

The bulk of it, $42 million, will go to fund the education fund, operations and maintenance, transportation and special education funds.

Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business for Kaneland, estimated the tax bill for a house valued at $200,000 would be approximately $4,904, or an increase of $425, if the home’s assessment stayed the same. But if the home’s property assessment dropped an average of 7 percent as have much of the residential properties within the Kaneland School District in the past few years, the same homeowner would see an increase of around $82 on the school portion of their tax bill next year.

Fuchs recommended in November the district increase the levies for the transportation and special education funds and transfer funds to the education fund, which is already at the maximum tax rate.

Fuchs said the education fund tax rate is at the maximum as a result of the consistent decline of property values. The district’s equalized assessed valuation dropped 7.2 percent in 2012, after a 6.4 percent decline in 2011 and 4.5 percent decline in 2010. She said the district would be looking at $2 million in cuts in the education fund in 2014 and future years.

Board member Tony Valente argued against raising the levies on those two funds to supplement the education fund.

“The district has found a loophole,” Valente said. “What it amounts to essentially is a back-door referendum to raise taxes.”

“This has been the reason I have consistently voted against salary raises. I know it will impact our education fund,” he said.

Board member Pedro Riva also voted against the tax levy proposal.

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