Property tax relief tied to state grant

The Illinois State Board of Education has announced that Homewood-Flossmoor High School District 233 is of 28 districts that will share a $50 million grant to help reduce local property taxes.

ISBE made the announcement Jan. 29. The district expects to receive $1.96 million in additional state funding. In exchange for the additional revenues, the district must provide property tax relief. 


At its January meeting, the school board said it would abate about $2 million in taxes if it received the grant. The abatement will be spread across all properties in the district, so it is difficult to determine exactly how much each taxpayer will receive. The reduction in taxes will appear on tax bills due in August.


Illinois has shifted its school funding formula to try and give funding equity between districts that have great property wealth and those that do not. The evidence-based formula is meant to help districts, including H-F District 233. It shifts Illinois payments to school districts from a general dollar amount per student to a formula that takes into account the tax burden. 


Bob Grossi, the Bloom Township school treasurer who handles school funds for H-F, said the district is considered “property poor” because it doesn’t have a strong commercial and industrial base that would take some of the burden from homeowners.


“Our average tax rate in South Cook is almost twice the state average,” Grossi said.


Illinois property taxes primarily fund schools. Illinois contributes less than 20 percent, according to the lobbying group Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education. Illinois ranks 50th out of 50 states in percentage of funding for public schools.


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