Attorney Tim Dwyer also has aimed his tax protest suit at Woodstock’s Unit School District 200.
The first count can be found below:
WOODSTOCK COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 200 – TRANSPORTATION FUND EXCESSIVE ACCUMULATION
In 2011, District 200 levied $1,400,000 for its Transportation Fund.
In 2013, District 200 levied $3,000,000 for its Transportation Fund.
In 2014, District 200 levied $5,800,000 for its Transportation Fund.
In 2015, District 200 levied $5,400,000 for its Transportation Fund.
The transportation levy adopted by District 200 remains invalid and void for a number of reasons. Specifically, the Illinois School Code mandates:
§ 17-4. Increase tax rate for transportation. The school board of any district having a population of less than 500,000 inhabitants may, by proper resolution, cause a proposition to increase the annual tax rate for transportation purposes to be submitted to the voters of such district at a regular scheduled election. The board shall certify the proposition to the proper election authority for submission in accordance with the general election law. If at such election a majority of the votes cast on the proposition is in favor thereof the school board may thereafter until such authority is revoked in like manner levy annually the tax so authorized. 105 ILCS 5/17-4.
District has less than 500,000 inhabitants, but it has not caused a referendum to be issued and voted on with regard to increasing its transportation fund levy.
For that reason alone, the transportation levy adopted by District 200 is void.
Since 2011, District 200 has increased its transportation levy by 565%, in contravention of the above-mentioned statute.
In addition, District 200 has, effective 2016, begun a policy whereby it transfers “excess” transportation funds to the Education Fund.
This illegal policy is memorialized in the District 200 audit, where it is stated: “in order to maintain programs and services, the district is levying allowable amounts in the Transportation Fund and transferring taxes to the General Fund. This is currently an acceptable practice that the State of Illinois has authorized”. (2015 Comprehensive Audit, page 12.)
In contradiction of the auditor’s statement, it is not legal to levy funds in excess of that which is necessary, and then transfer those excess funds to the Education Fund.
For over one century of jurisprudence in the State of Illinois, this policy has been adjudicated to be illegal in that a taxing body may only levy for specific funds necessary for the ensuing fiscal year.
Nevertheless, the District has adopted a written policy where it relies upon levying in excess of that which is necessary in order to transfer transportation funds to the Education Fund.
In 2016, District 200 transferred 2.8 million from its bloated Transportation Fund to its Education Fund.
Pursuant to its written policies, District 200 intends to transfer anywhere from $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 annually from its Transportation Fund to its Education Fund over the next four years. See Exhibit A-2, attached hereto and incorporated by reference.
Because this policy is illegal, the Transportation levy rate of .753752 is void, and the Tax Objectors should obtain a refund, with interest, for those payments made in 2016.
Additionally, District 200 has simply levied too much in accordance with State law.
At the end of fiscal year 2015, the District has a balance, in its Transportation Fund, of $6,427,894.
Additionally, the District receives state-funded transportation funds averaging 2.3 million dollars.
With its balance of $6,427,894 coupled with grants and reimbursements of 2.3 million, the District will have 8,727,894 available for its transportation needs.
The average annual three-year expenditure is $4,008,840.
As a result, District 200 has over 8.7 million to cover a cost of just 4 million.
This is how District 200 intends to transfer between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 from the Transportation Fund to its Education Fund over the next four years (See Exhibit A-2).
Notwithstanding the fact that the District has ample funds to cover the cost, the District adopted a levy of $5,400,000.
Respectively, a majority of the Transportation levy is not for transportation needs, but is for transfer to the Education Fund.
As such, the Transportation levy is void and the levy of .753752 should be refunded to the Tax Objectors, with statutory interest.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Tax Protestors, pray that the Court consider the matters raised herein, find, determine and otherwise adjudicate that the Transportation Fund challenged herein in the 2015 levy adopted by District 200 is illegal, void and excessive as a matter of law, order that the McHenry County Treasurer issue rebate payments to the Tax Protestor Plaintiffs, award statutory interest pursuant to 35 ILCS 200/23-20, et. seq., and issue whatever further relief this Court deems just and appropriate.
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Links to all articles about the Woodstock School District 200 tax protests for taxes to be collected in 2017 are below: