I think we can all agree that we would like to see our county and region grow and prosper. One major factor in community growth is quality schools. New residents tend to look at the quality of public schools as a determining factor in choosing a community in which to live. Another factor in choosing where to settle and raise a family is property tax rates. On April 4 we will have an opportunity to help fuel community growth through the County School Facility Tax (CSFT). Simply put, quality schools coupled with low property tax promotes community growth.
Counties that have passed the CSFT (47 out of 102 Illinois counties have passed it) are experiencing the benefits it brings. School facilities are much improved, future improvements are funded without bonding, and additional opportunities are made available to students, and yes, lower property tax rates. As many of you know, the “old” way of funding school facility projects has been to bond (borrow) the money and then levy the property owners for that debt. The “new” way is to utilize the school facility tax, which will allow boards of education to abate those bonds, resulting in a lower tax rate for our property owners. CSFT provides a more equitable, fair way to fund our school buildings.
All county schools have continuing facility needs. Some have immediate needs that have been put off for years, while others have completed some work but have debt that property tax payers are currently paying off. The CSFT is an effective and efficient way to fund school facilities, it has been proven in the counties that have enacted it. In fact, the future need for schools to ask its property owners to fund facility projects will dramatically decrease or be eliminated altogether.
CSFT provides our students with updated, safe, efficient, state of the art school buildings that our…