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CL school districts up levies

CRYSTAL LAKE – Taxpayers in both Crystal Lake school districts next year will see an increase on their property tax bills.

Both District 47 and District 155, which make up the largest portion of Crystal Lake residents’ tax bill, approved higher levies this week.

The elementary and middle school district approved a $69.2 million levy Monday and the high school district on Tuesday rubber-stamped its own request for $74.5 million.

District 155’s levy, for the high schools, represents an 8 percent increase over the $68.9 million collected last year. District officials have said they expect to get less, but levied enough to capture any dollars from new construction.

Taxpayers in the district, which also covers parts of Cary and Fox River Grove, can expect to see triple-digit dollar increases. The owner of a home valued last year at $300,000 would pay $117 more in taxes to the high school district under the new levy.

District 47’s levy reflects a 3 percent increase, the maximum under the tax cap law. Owners of a $200,000 home will pay $60 more in taxes next year, according to district figures.

At Monday’s meeting, Crystal Lake resident Randy Kiel asked the school board to reconsider a tax increase and to keep the levy flat. He asked the school board to “immediately close a school” to reduce costs, and eventually reduce the levy.

“Take steps now,” he pleaded with board members. “Do not increase the tax levy. And make do with the current tax rate.”

No one spoke about the tax levy at District 155.

The past two years, District 155 school board members have given taxpayers a break by abating $4.5 million in bond and interest payments.

Officials in both districts have cited uncertainties in Springfield that have continued to guide levy calculations, including a potential pension shift to school districts, and a reduction in state aid and transportation funding. District 155 also will be negotiating with its teachers union.

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