District 47 Board of Education Approves 2020 Tax Levy
After a public hearing at the District 47 Board of Education meeting on December 14, 2020, the Board voted 7-0 to adopt the 2020 tax levy. The requested aggregate amount of total property taxes to be levied for 2020 is $76.3 million, a reduction of approximately $268,000 from the tentative levy amount requested in November.
Despite the fact that students have spent a majority of the 2020-21 school year in remote learning due to COVID-19, assistant superintendent of business Cathy Nelson noted that school buildings are still operating and educators and staff are still working.
“We’ve wanted to provide teachers the opportunity to come into their classrooms to teach remotely if they so choose, and our bus drivers and support staff have continued to serve our students but in different ways this year,” Nelson said. Bus drivers have helped with food distribution and support staff continue to work with students virtually and/or assist with logistics, such as organizing and preparing educational material/supply pick-ups for families.
Due to uncertainty of state funding and the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy, District 47 continues to review staffing needs and expenditures annually to safeguard the district’s finances. However, the district is bound by contractual obligations among various work groups and has incurred additional expenses related to COVID-19 this year, spending in excess of $300,000 on face masks, plexiglass barriers, safety signage and cleaning and disinfecting supplies.
“We have prioritized the health and safety of our students and staff this year in light of the pandemic,” said Nelson. "We are committed to continuing to be vigilant, resourceful and fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars, now more than ever.”
Property tax revenues help school districts fund mandatory Health and Life Safety projects (such as the recent renovation at Coventry Elementary School) as well as capital improvements, such as a furniture replacement plan for all District 47 schools. Other ongoing, needed improvements include repairing and replacing structural elements, such as roofs, doors and windows; and upgrading electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems.