BERWYN – A budget surplus of $2.2 million will be used to abate the bond levy in Berwyn South School District 100, the school board has decided.
The Board of Education voted at its Nov. 28 meeting in unanimous support of using the $2.2 million surplus referendum funds to abate the levy, essentially paying that portion of next year’s taxes instead of the taxpayers.
For the past few months, the board had been considering what it would do with the surplus funds, which was a result of a higher than expected property value increase that was reflected in this year’s tax bills.
The referendum that passed in spring 2017 was intended to bring in $2.2 million for the district, but instead the district received nearly double that amount.
The board originally had been considering three options on what to do with the excess funds: issuing rebates to taxpayers, abating the operational levy or abating the bond debt levy.
Superintendent Mary Havis said the funds will be used to “improve educational programs, retain quality staff, continue to offer after-school programs and provide a more financially stable environment for the future.
“I think [the vote] speaks to what the board said it was going to do all along, which was to honor the intent of the referendum,” she said of the board’s decision.
The Cook County triennial assessment in 2018 found property values in Berwyn had risen over the past three years, and the Equalized Assessed Value of properties jumped by more than 20 percent. The referendum’s tax rate of 4.195 percent did not change, but because the EAV went up more than anticipated, taxpayers were left with higher bills. The district originally estimated in 2016 that the cost to taxpayers would be $160 per $100,000 of assessed home value, which was based on an EAV from 2015.
The board has until the end of December to submit next year’s levy request, and Havis said a final decision has not yet been made.