Continuing its long-standing tradition of meeting at all District 64 schools during the school year, the Board of Education held its October 28 regular meeting on-site at Franklin School. The meeting included a tour of the school’s library and improved areas such as a new secure vestibule and renovated office area with conference room and offices for the school nurse, principal and assistant principal. Highlights from the meeting include:
- Board adopts tentative levy - The Board adopted a tentative estimated property tax levy of $70.3 million for 2019, a 4.87 percent increase over the previous year. District 64 will actually be limited to receive a 1.9 percent increase plus the taxes associated with new construction, as allowed under the tax cap (Property Tax Extension Limitation Law). The percentage increase was deliberately set high enough to capture the full tax benefit of new construction in the District. If the levy is set too low, the Board runs the risk of missing out on tax revenue available from new construction. The loss of such revenue would continue and be compounded into future years. The Board set a public tax levy hearing for 6:45 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 before the regular meeting at Lincoln Middle School, 200 S. Lincoln Avenue, Park Ridge. The Board is scheduled to adopt the final levy at its regular meeting on Dec. 16.
- No supplemental tax levy - After considering a supplemental tax levy, the Board instead decided to take about $123,000 from its Debt Service Fund to pay for a shortfall in payments from bonds issued in 2014 (used to complete various construction projects at Field School). The bonds were tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U), estimated at the time to remain at 2 percent. But the CPI fell below 2 percent, leaving the District with less-than-anticipated revenue to pay back the bonds.
- Two Board Members named to Intra-governmental Committee - District 64 Board of Education Board Member Larry Ryles will join Board President Rick Biagi in representing the School Board on an Intra-governmental Committee in Park Ridge. The Committee will include representatives from the City of Park Ridge and the Park Ridge Park District. The group will consider ways the three entities can work together to be more cost-effective and efficient.
- New snow equipment coming soon - Two new Bobcat skid steer loaders will be purchased to replace current snow removal equipment currently being leased by the District. The Board approved the purchase of two Bobcat skid steer loaders at the cost of $79,801 to replace a pair of leased John Deere tractors. The old tractors have regularly broken down and cost the District about $10,000 in maintenance and repair in 2018. The new skid steer loaders will be available for use in all seasons of the year and are better-suited to heavier jobs such as moving large piles of snow. The leased tractors will be returned in January and the new equipment is expected to arrive prior to the end of the calendar year.