Taxpayers should see drop in Winnetka Public Schools’ share of property taxes in 2021
Winnetka homeowners will likely see a drop in the portion of their property-tax bill related to Winnetka Public Schools District 36.
The board of education approved the district’s 2020 tentative levy for $43.76 million during its Tuesday, Nov. 24, regular meeting.
The levy estimate represents a minimum 4.3 percent decrease from the district’s 2019 tax extension, according to district documents.
“Most homeowners, if they have not done anything to their house, will likely see a drop in their portion of their tax bill that relates to Winnetka District 36,” said Brad Goldstein, the district’s chief financial officer. “That doesn’t mean that they will necessarily see a drop in the tax bill, we are only a portion of that tax bill, other taxing bodies do play a part in that. But if they do look at the Winnetka portion of that bill, they will most likely see a drop unless they did massive reconstruction to their house or new property.”
Goldstein said the decrease is attributed to a 76 percent decline in the debt service portion of the levy. The district’s $30 million refunding of bonds in 2017 provided the reduction in future debt payments, he said, adding the payment for the 2020 levy has been reduced by $4.7 million from the original amount.
The tentative levy proposes $42.64 million in tax-capped operating funds, which represents a requested increase of 3.88 percent, according to district documents. Approximately 1.5 percent of that number is related to new property growth.
The requested debt service portion of the levy proposes $1.13 million, which represents the 76 percent decrease for an aggregate percent change of -4.3 percent from last year, according to district documents.
A vast majority of the collected funds ($36.13 million) are distributed to the Education Fund.
The district will not add to the Transportation Fund. Although the district has levied in this area in the past, it will not this year because it has “very limited” expenses in transportation this year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and special learning models, the district is not busing students to its schools this year, according to the district.
The 2020 levy is the primary source of revenue that supports the district’s fiscal year 2021-22 budget, according to district documents. More than 90 percent of the district’s revenue comes from the levy, Goldstein said.
A public hearing on the levy will be held at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 15.
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.