Friday, April 12, 2024

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Local Voices: District 158’s perspective on property taxes

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Submitted by Dr. Nathan Schilling, Superintendent, Lansing School District 158

Property tax assessments are increasing in Cook County but not because of your local school districts! The Lansing Journal recently published a press release from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) listing 32 school districts that have received the Property Tax Relief Grant (PTRG) this year, including Thornton Fractional Township High School District 215 and Lansing School District 158.

Speaking for the latter, we have applied for and received the PTRG for seven years from 2018 through 2025 and will have abated over $15.6 million in property taxes back to the Lansing community during this time! This is money that you would normally be paying as part of your property tax bills that is now being covered by the state. The graph below, which was created by our Assistant Superintendent Mark Crotty, shows what you are currently paying in property taxes (the blue bars) versus what you would be paying if District 158 didn’t receive the PTRG (the purple bars). As you can see, our tax rates for 2023 are comparable to 2017 despite inflation.

propert taxes
(Graph provided by District 158)

Thanks to the PTRG, our revenues remain strong but a larger portion is being covered by ISBE than ever before. We have examined local property tax bills and some Lansing residents are only seeing increases around $20 from last year to this year despite the recent change in county assessments.

District 158 has taken other steps to offset local costs through grant support, including federal programs like the annual Title grants that provide over $1.5 million to serve disadvantaged children and offer staff training, academic enrichment, and support programs. Each year, District 158 also utilizes IDEA grants that provide almost $850,000 for special education services and state grants for early childhood and pre-kindergarten that provide almost $700,000 in additional revenues.

These and similar grant programs that total over $3 million annually are providing significant relief in property taxes for our Lansing residents when combined with PTRG.

If you have concerns about recent increases that you may be seeing in your property tax bills, we suggest contacting the Cook County Assessor’s Office regarding the value of your residence and the Cook County Treasurer’s Office for information about the bill itself. Any of our taxpayers are also welcome to contact Lansing School District 158 at 708-474-6700 with any questions or for more information about your property taxes. Our learning organization is committed to remaining good stewards of public funding by making sure that you are not paying more than you need to while we continue to offer, improve, and expand our educational programs for students.

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Local Voices
Local Voiceshttps://thelansingjournal.com/category/lansing-voices/
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.

2 COMMENTS

  1. If it were nt for istrict 215 and 158 our taxes would be compearable to Indiana. They have nice modern schools ! Munster High School is oe of the best in the region !

  2. I’d like to thank Dr. Schilling for his dedication to the educational resources of the district. However, I must respectfully say that this article, in my opinion, does not address the problem. There is some general concept by many, that “grant money” is “free money”. This is simply not true. All governments derive virtually all their income from individual, corporate, property or other taxes and fees. Virtually all these taxes effect the individual taxpayer in one way or another. The only other exception is the federal government who can indiscriminately print money without backing. What is Illinois currently $150 Billion in debt, the US government $34 Trillion in debt? To what end? While our children and perhaps their children may remember the beautiful education facilities they had, I’m assured they will certainly remember the debt we have saddled them with.

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