McHenry County Board invites school districts to discussion on cutting property taxes

May 2, 2018
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has invited officials from nine area school districts to open a discussion about what districts can do to lower their property tax levies.

In March, voters approved an advisory referendum asking school districts to cut their property tax levies by 10 percent.

The discussions follow on the heels of the County Board reducing the county government’s levy by 11.2 percent for this tax year.

“While every local government has an obligation to the taxpayers to tighten their belts like we did, I believe school boards have even more of one because they account for the biggest percentage, by far, of property tax bills,” Franks said in a statement.

As the first board chairman directly elected by voters, Franks ran on a campaign of cutting the county levy by 10 percent.

County government accounts for about 10 percent of residential property tax bills.

“[The] voters told us in March that schools need to lower their taxes,” Franks said. “And unfortunately, people are also voting with their feet and leaving McHenry County. We have to reverse this trend before we reach a demographic and economic point of no return.”

Franks invited the superintendents and board presidents from nine of the area’s 16 school districts that have their administrative centers in McHenry County: Woodstock School District 200, Johnsburg School District 12, McHenry High School District 156, Marengo Union Elementary School District 165, Huntley School District 158, Richmond-Burton High School District 157, Cary School District 26, Community High School District 155 and Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47.

Other districts will be invited to future meetings.

School representatives will meet with Franks, county administrative staff and board members Michelle Aavang, Christopher Spoerl, Chris Christensen, Tom Wilbeck and Michael Skala. Aavang is chairwoman of the board’s Law and Government Committee. Christensen and Spoerl served on the District 26 board, Skala served on the District 158 board, and Wilbeck served on the McHenry County College Board of Trustees.