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MCHS Board approves slight decrease in levy

MORRIS – The Morris Community High School Board approved its official levy this week, which reflects a slight decrease from last year’s levy.

The board approved the levy during its regular meeting Monday, Superintendent Pat Halloran said. Last month it had approved the tentative levy. Monday he explained to the school board a slight change.

“This levy is basically a flat levy, it is based on the EAV amount from last year’s extension,” he stated in his report in the school board packet.

The school district anticipates a tax rate of $1.88 per $100 of owned property will be maintained in the upcoming year.

School districts file tax levies to make sure they capture all available property tax dollars once the actual equalized assessed value, or property value, is determined. School district budgets heavily rely on local property taxes.

The district is levying based on the last year’s total EAV of $404,523,883. This was the number used to calculate the district’s actual extension from last year’s property taxes, which was $7,604,314.

As a result, this year’s extension to the school district is expected to be $7,578,302.

“This is 0.34 percent lower than last year’s extension,” Halloran said Tuesday.

“Although this is a flat levy, we still anticipate a 5 percent decrease in final EAV from last year, which continues to create financial challenges for us,” he said.

As a result, Halloran previously has said the district anticipates reductions in personnel, supplies and equipment, along with implementing cost-containment strategies.

The school district will not increase its tax rate despite the fact property values are decreasing and resulting in less property taxes for the district. Because property values are decreasing, homeowners will receive lower property taxes, including lower taxes to Morris Community High School since it is not raising its rate.

In other business, the school board approved the job descriptions of two new positions that will result in cost-savings for the district.

In October the board approved decentralizing its special education coordinator and social worker positions from the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative as part of its reduction strategy to save money because of the falling EAV resulting in less tax dollars for the district.

Monday it approved the job details of a dean of Special Populations and special education social worker. The jobs will be now be posted internally.

By hiring internally the district will save about $40,000, Halloran has previously said. By hiring its own social worker the district will break even with the cost by using the co-op for this position.

The high school will continue to receive low-incident services through the co-op, such as autism, behavior and REACH programs.

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