holmes 013119SPRINGFIELD- On Tuesday, the Illinois State Board of Education announced that 28 Illinois school districts are eligible to receive a Property Tax Relief Grant for fiscal year 2019. The grant covers a portion of local property tax reductions up to the statutory limit.

Oswego District 308 was among 373 districts who applied for the relief but did not make the short eligibility list. Lawmakers Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) learned of the outcome and reacted with concerns for students and local property taxpayers. 

“I’m disappointed our districts won’t have this resource to support local schools and taxpayers,” Sen. Holmes said. “Seeing the number and amount of this year’s relief grants, I believe the formula needs some modifications to make the system more fair and equitable going forward.” 

“Our still-new evidence-based funding approach is working and bringing more dollars to our schools and statewide,” Rep. Kifowit said. “But there is a problem with the formula and the panel reviewing implementation can expect Sen. Holmes and me to be contacting them with our concerns about the number of grants available for property tax relief for communities like Oswego, whose bills are among the highest in the nation.” 

The $50 million property tax relief grant is in its first year of implementation and districts with the highest unit equivalent tax rate are eligible.  

The Office of the Comptroller responded Tuesday to Kifowit and Holmes’ inquiries regarding the status of payments to the district for its EBF base funding for fiscal year 2019. They learned the comptroller’s office is making those payments on time twice a month, and made their first mandated categorical quarterly payments this week, 20 days earlier than last year. It had been delayed by 121 days due to other demands on the state’s coffers.

More information on the Property Tax Relief Grant and a list of eligible school districts can be found at www.ISBE.net/proptaxrelief.