School District 47 Plans on 5.6% Tax Hike Monday, 4.2%, If Planned Abatement Passes

With the backdrop of McHenry County residents being the 29th highest taxed county in the USA, Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 published a “Black Box” ad.

Black Box ads, iniated by an advisory referendum that was part of Governor Jim Thompson’s first re-election campaign, have to be put in a local newspaper when a taxing district is asking for more than 5% more money than it received the year before.

In this ad, Crystal Lake Grade School District 47 says it wants to raise local taxes by

In this ad, Crystal Lake Grade School District 47 says it wants to raise local taxes by

The Crystal Lake Grade School Board is projecting operating cost increases of 4.11% and debt service increases of 36.55%.

Combining the two results in a net increase in the total taxes levied of 5.6%.

Crystal Laker John Peltz looked at the ad and he found a problem:

There was no meeting time.

He called the number listed, but got no return phone call.

So, he sent the following letter:

December 5, 2016

Dear Doctor Kathy Hinz,

After reviewing your recent public “Notice of proposed property tax increase for Crystal lake community school district 47 county of McHenry, state of Illinois” I noticed that there is no time of meeting listed in your notice. I called the phone number listed: 815-459- 6070 at 8:25 AM from my cell phone and spoke for 3 minutes.

I asked about the time and was told someone would get back to me.

No one did.

I now respectfully request that the notice be republished with all the necessary information listed and to have the meeting rescheduled accordingly.

I’m sending this letter to you by certified, return receipt requested, United States Post Office

I’m also sending a copy to the Northwest Herald newspaper; the McHenry County Board, Mr. Ryan Farrell, one of your school board members, the McHenry County States Attorney Patrick Kenneally and other public officials.

I also would like to request that this tax increase be denied.

17% of all homes in McHenry County that were sold in October of 2016, were short sales and bank foreclosures.

The time to stop increasing taxes is over.

People have lost their homes and continue to do so.

You must stop taking more and find ways to cut your spending. McHenry County pays the 29 th highest property taxes in the United States of America.


John Pletz
7405 Manor Road
Crystal Lake, IL. 60014

Subsequently, District 47 posted this:

District 47 2016 Proposed Tax Levy

To ease the financial burden on taxpayers, the District 47 Board approved a tax abatement in 2015 in the amount of $1,000,000 from the District’s debt service levy.

This means that, rather than relying on new taxpayer dollars, District 47 used its operating fund or cash reserves to make debt payments.

The abatement amount was determined to keep the portion of a homeowner’s property taxes attributable to D47 relatively flat in 2016 as compared to the previous year.

At the District 47 Board of Education meeting on November 21, 2016, the Board voted 7-0 to adopt a tentative tax levy.

District 47’s proposed tax levy amount for 2016 represents a 5.6 percent increase over the 2015 tax levy for all funds (including capped funds and debt service) and does not include an abatement.

However, this year, another abatement in the same amount is being proposed and, if approved, would reduce the total amount of the tax levy by the abated amount.

Although not required, the District 47 Board voted to publish a notice of the tax levy and tax levy hearing in the Northwest Herald to provide the public with advance information of the tax levy discussion date, which is detailed below.

Due to formatting restrictions of the notice published and the fact that the Board has not yet approved the current tax levy or an abatement, the currently published public hearing notice does not reflect the taxpayer savings from any potential abatement.

Unfortunately, this creates an “apples-to-oranges” comparison, as the increase shown is for the pre-abatement levy over last year’s post-abatement extension.

If the Board approves the abatement as was discussed during the meeting in November, the net amount requested will be $3,542,926, not $4,542,926 as published.

This equates to an increase in the debt service portion of just under 6.5 percent, not the 36.55 percent shown.

It also drops the increase in the overall request from 5.6 percent to 4.21 percent.

As the overall Equalized Assessed Valuation (EAV) of the District increases at an amount greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the tax rate itself will actually decrease.

However, that doesn’t guarantee that a homeowner’s tax bill will decrease.

For instance, if the value of a home increases based upon an updated assessment, the actual tax bill could increase.

On the other hand, if there has been no change in assessed value, the portion of the tax bill attributable to District 47 will most likely decrease.

In this scenario at the current tax rate, the owner of a $200,000 home would see a decrease of approximately $145.

The D47 Board is expected to vote on the proposed tax levy and abatement at the next Board of Education meeting on Monday, December 12, 2016 at 7 p.m.

The meeting will be held at Bernotas Middle School, 170 N. Oak St. in Crystal Lake.
For additional information and Frequently Asked Questions about property taxes and school funding, click here.


School District 47 Plans on 5.6% Tax Hike Monday, 4.2%, If Planned Abatement Passes — 21 Comments

  1. Eav probably increased due to an equalization factor .

    In Seneca township our assessments all rose 8.3% due to equalization factor.

    Taking out the equalization factor, our home values fell yet again.

  2. Crystal Lake Elementary District 47

    2015 Annual Financial Report (Year Ended June 30, 2015)

    Net Pension Liability aka Unfunded Liability aka Taxpayer IOU To the TRS (Teachers & Administrators) Pension Fund

    Crystal Lake CCSD 47 Property Taxpayers – $6,129,588

    State Taxpayers on behalf of Local CCSD 47 Property Taxpayers – $257,345,909

    Total all Taxpayers – $263,475,497

    There are a lot more details in the AFR.


    For the Year Ended June 30, 2015, the State of Illinois Contributed $20,719,078 to the TRS pension fund on behalf of local property taxpayers.


    The IMRF Net Pension Liability aka Unfunded Liability aka Taxpayer IOU to the Pension Fund is $4,741,997.

    Local Crystal Lake CCSD 47 Property Taxpayers are responsible for the IMRF Net Pension Liability (not state taxpayers).


  3. The Black Box law needs to be updated to the digital age.

    Jim Thompson was in office from 1977 – 1991, before widespread use of web browsers and the internet by the average person.

    An improved law would be to also place the black box on the taxing district’s home page, Facebook if they have one, and distributed via email or text via an opt-in list.

  4. Thank you John, for speaking up. District #47?

    I DON”T HAVE $145.00!!!

  5. I can see the home for sale signs going up next spring already.

  6. Then you should go to the meeting Monday and tell the Board members.

  7. As municipalities and townships are reducing, the school boards are increasing.

    Not a shock, but disappointing.

  8. Shout out to Rosemary Kurtz.
    Keep those big spenders in
    Line and throw some guilt at them.

    Thank you for being a voice of reason
    So far !

  9. As someone who lived in Crystal Lake at one time, I cannot help but think that many who live there have been taken for a ride.

    Yes, you have good schools but maybe it’s time to take your nose out of the air and look around the country at areas that are not drowning in property taxes but have beautiful new schools.

    In my humble opinion, many in McHenry County have believed the political drivel that the taxpayers must pay very high property taxes for sevicess and schools that no-one else has.

    Sorry folks, it’s all garbage.

  10. Facts and data support that McHenry County school profligate spending has significantly driven down local property values relative to all across America (which by law offers comparable education).

    Example Woodstock D200:

    4.6% property tax rate vs. America 1.4% property tax rate.
    (State spending, when one factors in State ‘on behalf’ pension contributions, is not far out of line with other States)

    (Schools will argue issues relevant to revenues rather than spending; local spending is obscene when compared on a State or National basis).

    If a family living in a $200,000 home took the extraordinary $6000 per year

    ($9200 taxes minus $2900 which is American average)

    (paid annually to Woodstock schools and City, and McHenry County for the same mediocre public services provided all across America, by law, for about $2900 per year)

    $6000 Every year starting with a child’s birth, and saved it for college, how much would be in that college savings fund when the child turns 18?

    Teachers, would you answer this one for us?

    Please use the investment return rate used to calculate your pension fund balance obligation which you demand from taxpayers.

  11. Before you give a dime to District 47 or 155 a dime . . . make sure the School Board Represents the Parents and all the Taxpayers.

    The Teacher’s Union should not dictate to anyone.

  12. It is clear that the Boe does NOT represent the taxpayers or the parents.

    Property tax rates above 3.3% are prima facie evidence of that.

  13. I would suggest that the School Board is worthless to the Taxpayers . . .

    Time for everyone to vote NO, drain this swamp.

  14. Lisa, run for school board, contact school board members, present specific facts and ask for specific research in return which supports spending to engender a property tax rate of around 4% of home’s fair market value.

    If school spending is justified, the spenders can present evidence-based research which indicates that local spending on (…what?…what is done differently here which costs double to triple that done in all the rest of America?)
    spending above 10% of median household income on property taxes to pay local elementary and high schools is more valuable to schoolchildren’s long-term outcomes than the spending metric practiced in almost all the rest of America:

    3.6% of median income is spent on property taxes.

  15. The teacher’s are the ones who vote them into office, Lisa will not have a chance, sorry to say.

    The Teacher’s Union will make or break a family if you do not go along with the system.

    Many people moved away from Crystal Lake for that reason

    Really too bad, there are good teachers in Crystal Lake, but they can not speak up either.

    Communism at its best.

    Maybe the New Department of Education, under Trump can save the good in the system.

    She will need our support.

  16. The general public is allowed to make comments before the vote.

  17. Rosemary Kurtz is on the high school board, not the District 47 Grade school board.

  18. Northwest Herald

    D-47 Superintendent Kathy Hinz Receives 2.5 Percent Raise

    “Hinz, who served as superintendent since mid-2013, has spent her entire 21-year career in education with the district.

    She was earning $177,150 during the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent one for which the district has an online salary report.”


    Open the Books

    Kathleen J Hinz

    Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47

    2015 – $190,949

    2014 – $172,982 > Widget > State > Salaries > click on Recipient Name > click on down arrow and select Illinois > Hinz K


    The salary reports on the school district website do not list pensionable income.

    Open the Books lists pensionable income.

    Thus there is often a difference in the figures reported by the two.

    Pensionable income is often higher than base salary for teachers and administrators working in public schools.

    Pensionable income includes salary, teacher stipends, and various other types of pay earned by school district employees that is over and above base salary.

    In addition to pensionable income, some employees receive non pensionable compensation.

    An increasingly used form of non pensionable compensation is granting teachers and administrators post retirement bonuses in lieu of end of career salary hikes.

    This often serves two purposes.

    The public is largely kept in the dark on the bonus as it is not publicized annually in the salary report on the school district website, and post retirement bonuses do not hike the pension, so the school district does not have to pay a pension contribution on the bonus.


    In the Widget, type in last name, space, then the first name (or first initial of first name).

    No commas are used in the Widget.

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