Grade School Tax Rates

Cary Grade School 26 Board President Scott Coffey, inspired by the paraprofessionals’ demonstration in McHenry Tuesday, racked up the tax rates for all McHenry County elementary schools.

I think his research is worth sharing more broadly:

D-15 has the 2nd highest Operating Tax Rate of any elementary district in the county.

Here is the list sorted highest to lowest (Rate per $100/EAV):

3 – 5.447
15 – 5.184
36 – 4.998
46 – 4.648
47 – 4.162
2 – 3.842
18 – 3.745
26 – 3.694
165 – 3.211

“To put that in perspective, if D-15 had the same rate as D-26, they would be taking $13.8 million LESS from their community in taxes (or about 28.7% less than today,” Coffey writes.


Grade School Tax Rates — 9 Comments

  1. We need to cap property taxes at 2.5% and let government fight it out amongst themselves.

    You know, without a blank check, like in the real world how the rest of the unprivileged class lives.

  2. Back at the time of California’s Proposition 13, I figured out how to do it here, but, of course, the legislation did not make it out of the House Revenue Committee.

  3. People know about PTELL tax levy caps, but a bettier indicator of school funding health may be the tax max caps by Fund.

    D15 is taxing to the max allowed by law in all capped Funds.

    To find tax levy relative to cap look up your school district report at the link below.

    McHenry County school districts start with the prefix 44.

    There are tabs at bottom of excel document.

  4. Here is the cross reference chart to the school district names:

    Fox River Grove District 3 – 5.447

    McHenry District 15 – 5.184

    Harrison District 36 (Wonder Lake) – 4.998

    Prairie Grove District 46 – 4.648

    Crystal Lake District 47 – 4.162

    Nippersink District 2 (Richmond, Spring Grove) – 3.842

    Riley District 18 (Marengo) – 3.745

    Cary District 26 – 3.694

    Marengo Union District 165 – 3.211


    The source of the statistics is the 2016 Final Tax Computation Report, which is listed as the “Tax Computation Report All” on the “Taxes” section of the McHenry County Clerk website.


    The schools listed above are elementary districts (preschool – 8th grade).

    In education statistics, generally, elementary districts are compared to elementary districts.

    Elementary districts are not compared to high school districts or unit districts.

    Similarly, high school districts are compared to high school districts, and unit districts are compared to unit districts.

    A unit district has both elementary schools and high schools.


    The operating tax rate does not include the bond tax rate.

    Operating tax rate + bond tax rate = total tax rate.

  5. Point of clarification.

    The operating tax rate does not include the referendum bond tax rate.

    Referendum bonds are fund # 003.


    Non-referendum bonds (working cash bonds) are included in the operating tax rate.

    Working cash bonds are fund # 031.

    The funds are listed on the Tax Computation Report.


    Here is a cross reference chart from the common name to the name on the County Clerk Tax Computation Report.

    Common name = County Clerk Tax Computation Report

    Nippersink District 2 = EE002 – SCHOOL DIST 2

    Fox River Grove District 3 = EE003 – SCHOOL DIST 3

    McHenry District 15 = EE015 – SCHOOL DIST 15

    Riley District 18 (Marengo) = EE108 – SCHOOL DIST 18

    Cary District 26 = EE026 – SCHOOL DIST 26

    Harrison District 36 (Wonder Lake) – EE036 – SCHOOL DIST 36

    Prairie Grove District 46 = EE046 – SCHOOL DIST 46

    Crystal Lake District 47 = EE047 – SCHOOL DIST 47

    Marengo Union District 165 = EE165 – SCHOOL DIST 165

  6. The County Clerk Tax Computation Report shows Tax Levy relative to Cap.

    Is there a single tab in the AFR on the ISBE website which also shows that, or does one have to perform a calculation?

  7. Here are a couple of additional issues that may provide some color behind these rates.

    In general, one would expect to see higher rates in smaller districts vs larger districts given the principle of economies of scale.

    I’m not sure we see that in the above data.

    Also, one would expect to see lower rates as the commercial/industrial percentage of a district’s EAV mix increases.

    Over time, as a district’s overall levy revenue increases from increased contributions from commercial/industrial properties without any incremental cost burden to the district, the overall tax rate should be lower rather than higher.

    The data I have accumulated shows that expectations do not necessarily match reality.

    Fitting the theory is Marengo-Union D-165 which has the lowest rate in the County because, in part, they have the lowest residential EAV mix (63.7%).

    However, my own district, Cary D-26, has the 2nd highest residential mix at 89%, but has the 2nd lowest tax rate.

    And McHenry D-15 is 2nd on the tax rate list but, has the 3rd lowest residential mix at 78.6%.

    So, when one looks at their own district’s rate on the table above, they need to be cognizant of the core drivers of the rate.

    And if their rate doesn’t reflect the expected effect of these core drivers, they need to begin to ask questions.

  8. Woodstock D200, few to none attend school board meetings regarding finance or budget.

    There are meetings occurring now which few attend, devolved into a farcical ‘analysis’ (with no evidence presented on either side by either side) of whether to segregate D2100 grade schools into mono- and dual language buildings.

    Voter turnout is 15%.

    Property tax rate is 4.2% of total home fair market value.

    The ‘good’ news is, because D200 has been profligately spending for a decade, AND HAS FOR THE PAST 5 YEARS TAXED AT THE MAXIMUM ALLOWED BY LAW under Fund rate caps, because of the new Illinois school funding law this Admin may have only another two years before hitting insolvency cliff leading to State takeover, when taxpayers may finally get some relief as the State forces fiscal responsibility upon the District.

    As you know, ISBE fiscal rating system rewards over-taxation in order to keep fund balances high.
    But D200 has blown through its debt limits, and is now overtaxing to the max and running into the inevitable COLA contractually obligated raise outstripping inflation.

    They cant legally tax any higher, and they cant legally borrow any more, and they cant attract new property tax paying development to a district with 4.2% property tax rate in a world of Chicago-ans screaming that 2 1/4% property tax is an outrage.

    Question: shouldn’t ISBE revamp its financial solvency rating system in light of the pension burden being shifted onto local property taxpaying homeowners?

    Getting a “4” rating because a district overtaxes the means of its community to the point of destruction doesn’t seem like a logical indicator of financial strength…especially in light of the complete refusal to include in the ratings any indicator of the magnitude of FUTURE debt/tax burden now shifted to locals to pay for their retirees pensions (and OPEB).

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