The District 200 school board on Feb. 28 approved a tax abatement totaling roughly $2.4 million, meaning property owners in River Forest in Oak Park will see a lower tax bill in 2014.

The one-time abatement narrowly passed, with board members Amy McCormack, Dietra Millard and Ralph Lee voting the measure down. The board spent considerable time deliberating the matter during their regular meeting on Thursday. The board opted to abate the full amount of about $2,487,000 instead of the partial abatement option of $1.6 million.

Members Terry Finnegan, John Phelan, Sharon Patchak-Layman and Valerie Fisher voted in favor the full abatement

The vote came at the tail end of the roughly five-hour regular board meeting.
Earlier in the meeting during public comments, Barb Langer, a critic of the school’s finances who’s running for a school board seat in the April election, reiterated her plea that the school board “repeal and refund” the $1.6 million it levied back in December. She then asked each board member to state publicly if they would but board President told Langer that’s not the board’s practice of answering questions during public comments.

The board Thursday also approved a resolution that sets the stage for the school to fund the Collaboration for Early Childhood’s initiative for integrated supportive care system in the two villages. In a 7-0 vote, the board authorized the administration to begin drafting an intergovernmental agreement with the Collaboration, District 97 and Village of Oak Park. D97 and Village have already committed to funding the Collab’s proposed initiative.

Patchak-Layman initially suggested funding the Collab’s program from Madison TIF disbursements due the high school and looked to amend the motion on the table. Her amendment, however, died after not receiving a second from another board member.

Statement from OPRF

At its regular meeting last night, the Board of Education voted to abate the entire Bond and Interest Levy for 2012. The total dollar amount to be abated is $2,487,380. The Bond and Interest Levy is part of the District’s total levy extension of 2.5%, approved by the Board on December 20, 2012. The abatement was brought forward in an effort to provide some relief to taxpayers without affecting the District’s ability to levy in the future. With approval of the abatement, the District will transfer dollars from the Working Cash Fund to the Bond and Interest Fund in order to make its debt payment this year.


The impact for the local property taxpayer will be a one-time reduction in the tax bill for 2012, and then a larger increase for 2013 as the Bond and Interest portion of the levy returns to the tax bill. However, the overall impact still will be a reduction in taxes compared to the District not approving an abatement.


As a result of the abatement, a homeowner with a home value of approximately $315,000 will experience a property tax reduction from the 2011 property taxes of approximately $55. This reduction is from the Oak Park and River Forest High School portion of the tax bill only and does not affect any other portion of the tax bill. The total tax bill, including the portion for the other local taxing bodies, may still be higher than last year.

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