BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) – A sagging tax base is cited as a major reason McLean County’s second largest school system is projecting a $5.3 million deficit.
Like other public schools. property taxes are the largest source of revenue for Bloomington District 87, which estimates taxable land values will shrink by .475% even though Superintendent Barry Reilly said he’s bullish on future growth.
The public got its first look at the proposed budget during Wednesday night’s school board meeting, and the board scheduled a public hearing on the spending plan at its September 22 meeting.
Superintendent Reilly said the district plans to fill this year’s budget gap with federal stimulus money, and shift working cash into the education and other school funds. There are no current plans for cuts in programs or staff, according to Reilly.
This year’s budget includes a 5% overall pay increase for teachers, under terms of their union contract.
Among future goals for the district is to work with City of Bloomington and McLean County economic development officials to spur economic growth.
In the next year or two, Reilly said he’s optimistic expansion plans at Ferrero Candy Company and the Westminster Village retirement community, both inside the school district, will help expand the tax base.
Reilly adds expansion of Rivian Automotive and Brandt Industries, even though they’re outside the school district, will boost the area’s housing market and in turn produce more tax revenue.
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