D159 Board Passes $13M Levy
The 2012 levy is approximately $300,000 more than the amount the district levied for in 2011.
The Mokena School District 159 Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the 2012 tax levy for approximately $13 million at a meeting on Dec. 19.
The board held a public hearing prior to approving the levy. Multiple residents attended the hearing and spoke about the impact the levy could have on Mokena.
“I appreciate the people that have come out here,” said Board President Patrick Markham. “We’re in this together and we all need to pull together.”
Robert Swale, a Mokena resident of five years, announced during the hearing that earlier in the week he filed to run for the district school board in April.
Swale also said that in an economy where many have taken pay cuts, he would like to see teachers in Mokena forego their Consumer Price Index increase this year to prevent the district from having to raise the tax levy.
“Somebody has to stand up for the taxpayer,” he said in an interview with Patch.
The 2012 levy is an approximately $300,000 increase over the levy in 2011, which totaled about $12.7 million.
This year, the board approved a balloon levy, according to documents provided by District 159. This means that the district will likely receive a significantly smaller amount in tax dollars than the funds it requested, due to taxing limits.
D159 will likely receive approximately $130,000 less than the amount levied, district documents state.
The district budget is currently experiencing a roughly $114,000 budgeted surplus, after a $135,000 deficit last year.
Property taxes make up 80 percent of the district budget.
The board also discussed the process of determining a third party search firm to assist the district in finding a new superintendent at Wednesday’s meeting. Current Superintendent Steve Stein announced his resignation on Nov. 20.
Board Vice President Joseph Spalla and Board Member Jeff Regan reported that most search firms cost $10,000-15,000. The board determined that they will accept bids from prospective firms during Dec. 21-31 and will award the search firm bid on Jan. 3.
Board members also spoke about the shootings in Newtown, Conn. on Wednesday, addressing the district’s need to evaluate its safety proceedings in the wake of the incident.
The board thanked Superintendent Stein for acting quickly on Tuesday, when two escaped convicts were seen in the area. Stein put the district on safety hold, meaning that all doors and windows were locked, students had indoor recess and police oversaw school dismissal.
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