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January 26, 2020

12/18/2019 10:17:00 AM
Unit 2 levy up, but taxes unlikely to rise
Robinson Unit 2's annual tax levy is up, but it's not likely to have much impact on local tax bills.

The Unit 2 board Monday adopted a levy of almost $14.56 million, including taxes levied to pay bonds and interest. This is up from this year's actual tax revenues of more than $13.8 million, or more than 5.4 percent.

The actual anticipated tax extension - that is, the amount Unit 2 expects to collect in 2020 - is almost $14.4 million. This is $558,304 more than this year.

Superintendent Josh Quick explained the levy is based on an anticipated equalized assessed valuation for the district of $368.5 million. It is likely to be more by the time the final EAV is announced in a few months.

Based on this, there would be an increase in the tax rate of a little more than a penny, Quick said. However, depending on how much higher the EAV turns out to be, the rate could actually be less than this year.

A tax rate is the percentage at which a property is taxed. Unit 2's total rate this year, for example, was $3.88 per $100 EAV. This was 8 cents less than the 2018 rate. Many of Unit 2's rates are limited on how high they can go.

Among the funds with limited rates is the Education Fund. Most expenses, including salaries, are drawn from it.

Unit 2 historically has set its levies higher than it knows it can collect to show how much the district really needs. Whatever the amount, the district can still only collect what is allowed by law.

Under the evidence-based funding system, the state uses statistical data including enrollment to determine how much money a district needs to provide the best possible education to its students. It also determines how much each district should, in theory, be able to provide on its own through property taxes.

Robinson needs about $18.1 million to educate its students and should be able to generate more than $15.1 million of that locally, according to the state. In fact, Unit 2 can only raise about $10.6 million through property taxes, about $4.6 million less than the state estimate.

Again, the state estimate is based on the EAV. "We live in a relatively small district with a big EAV," Quick explained. As a result, Robinson is expected to provide a larger share of its own funding.

"We don't get as much state aid," Quick added. "But that's all right. We're fine."

Another matter Monday was tabled because three members were absent.

There is, it was decided, no rush in voting on accepting a bid from Ambraw Asphalt for paving work to be done at Lincoln Elementary School.

Ambraw, the only bidder, offered to pave the three areas for $92,100. They also bid each area separately but bundling them would save Robinson $4,000. Work would be done next summer.

Three board members - Amy Stone, Mary Jane Parker and Veronica Murphy - were absent Monday, so the other board members tabled voting on the bid until the January meeting.

In personnel matters, the board hired Amy Allen as a special education teacher at Nuttall Middle School and Tara Redman as a Washington Elementary School Get Set pre-kindergarten paraprofessional. The resignation of bus driver Robin Goens was accepted and retirement was approved for LES cook's helper Sherry Harris.

In other business, the board and administrators expressed gratitude to parents, coaches, bus drivers and others who helped facilitate the NMS eighth-grade girls basketball team's trip to state during the weekend. The girls fell 32-21 to host Germantown Hills.

Members also approved a WES improvement plan for dealing with children with disabilities.

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