D.215 school board approves tax levy identical to last year

2013-11-26T22:00:00Z 2013-11-26T23:43:14Z D.215 school board approves tax levy identical to last yearGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 26, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

CALUMET CITY | Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215 officials boasted Tuesday about going for five straight academic years without a significant increase in the district's property tax levy.

The School Board on Tuesday voted 6-0, with Roger Yochem absent, for six measures that set the amount of money the district will get from property taxes paid next year by property owners in Calumet City and Lansing, along with parts of Burnham and Lynwood.

Charles DiMartino, the district’s finance director, said the levy shows no increase from last year, which itself was a non-increase compared with the previous year. “We’re in good shape with that,” he said.

School Superintendent Creg Williams said over the past five school years, the district’s share of local tax money has increased by only 2 percent.

“We’ve had five years under the (tax) cap without having to cut any (educational) programs,” Williams said.

The School Board previously had approved a tentative tax levy. Tuesday’s vote was the final action for the board on the matter.

DiMartino and Williams also referred to the tax rate objection process taking place across Cook County, in which various businesses file a joint court case to challenge the amount of money they are taxed by area governments and school districts.

DiMartino said District 215 is facing such a challenge for the taxes it received from 2007 to 2010, with some 100 area businesses joining in hopes of getting money back.

DiMartino said he has spoken with attorneys for the group, and that the legal battle in Cook County Circuit Court could take two years or more to complete.

Williams said the fact that District 215 has not sought significant tax increases during those years is a plus in terms of defending itself.

In other business, T.F. North social studies teacher Mike Anaclerio told the board that a fundraising project in conjunction with this year’s T.F. North/T.F. South football game Oct. 18 to benefit groups that help families with autistic members was a success.

The group raised $7,000, with much of the money coming from the sale of special T-shirts that paid tribute to Anaclerio’s late sister, Mary, who was autistic.

Anaclerio said he gave the money to the Crown Point-based Autism Speaks organization, which told him it would use the money to offer financial support to families in need with an autistic member.

Anaclerio said the amount of money raised far exceeded his expectations, while School Board President Richard Dust said, “It was a great event for both schools.”

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