District 87 schools in Bloomington estimate next year's tax levy at about $44.5 million, less than 1 percent higher than last year.
Superintendent Barry Reilly says next year's tax rate will come from changes in property values, and those are not certain.
“Last year we had an increase in our assessed values of 1.85 percent. (Chief Financial and Legal Officer) David (Wood) presented tonight an assumed 2 percent increase. The likelihood of that happening is probably slim,” said Reilly.
Reilly said actual property value growth is likely to be somewhere between zero and 1 percent.
He also said Eastland Mall's assessed value can make a big difference in the school tax base. The mall has lost several major tenants recently.
Property taxes account for most of the district's operating funds.
The district is also working to change the way it tests student achievement.
The state will soon issue school report cards for District 87. But Reilly said he places more value on other assessment methods.
“The reality is the state assessment that’s currently in place, the PARCC testing at the elementary and middle school level, does not provide us with a great deal of information to utilize to improve classroom instruction,” said Reilly.
Reilly said the district instead prefers using the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test to improve instructors' teaching and measuring students' abilities.
He also said he is part of a task force that wants to change state achievement testing to be similar to map testing.
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