Rockford Schools vote to cut $9.3 million in property taxes

Jun 27, 2012

The Rockford School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night — without discussion or debate — to lower the property tax rate by 58 cents for next year’s tax bills.

The owner of a $100,000 house could see a 10 percent reduction in his or her property tax bill, at a cost of roughly $9.3 million to the Rockford School District in fiscal 2013.

That lost revenue put a burden on the budget, which the board also approved 7-0.

Chief Financial Officer Cedric Lewis made last-minute changes to balance revenue and expenditures.

“We were actually tweaking this up until today,” he told the Rockford Register Star.

It’s technically a deficit budget, although $10 million of the deficit is set aside from reserves for capital projects — which means it can’t be spent elsewhere.

“The operating budget is balanced,” Lewis stressed.

The budget is different from the draft initially presented; it was changed, in part, to reflect additional revenue loss. Board Vice President Jude Makulec asked for a public explanation of the plan, especially after the approval of lowering the tax levy.

“We needed to have that within our budget,” she said. “We need to start living with less money.”