SYCAMORE – Sycamore homeowners next year will be paying $2,115 in property taxes for Sycamore schools per $100,000 of home value, after the Sycamore School District 427 Board unanimously passed its 2017 tax levy Tuesday night.
“We are requesting a 4.37 percent increase which equates to a little over $1.5 million” district Chief Financial Officer Nicole Stuckert said.
The total tax rate will be $6.34 per $1,000 equalized assessed value, Stuckert said, a decrease of a nickel from 2016.
“Your home values are going up, but the tax values are going down,” she said.
Of the increase in the levy, about $750,000 is directed toward the educational fund, and a $300,000 increase is earmarked for operations and maintenance. The transportation fund sees a $400,000 decrease. Other funds increase or decrease in smaller increments.
A public hearing was held before the vote on the levy. No one from the public spoke or presented written testimony before the board.
Board President Jim Dombek said that amount levied should be enough to keep the district out of deficit spending, although he said he wasn’t sure what will happen with state school funding.
“With the new formula, no one is familiar enough with it yet to project next year’s allocations,” he said.
The board also learned that the district is issuing surveys to high school students to gauge interest in flexible scheduling.
The program, which would allow students a degree of flexibility in choosing their own start and dismissal times, would begin at the high school. A committee consisting of students, administration and board member Austin Hofer have been meeting to discuss the program.
“Research tells us that it helps relieve student stress,” Dombek said. The program would begin at the high school, but could spread to the middle school if there was support and need, he said.
The board will address the results of the survey at its January meeting.
The district calendar for 2018-2019 was approved by the board. One highlight of the new calendar is students will have the Friday of the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival off, with it being an institute day. Teachers will have to attend school that day, but will be dismissed at 1 p.m, said Superintendent Kathy Countryman.
The first semester will also end before winter break, Countryman said.