Analysis: On eve of $90.6 million bond vote, District 36 homeowners see tax bills skyrocket as enrollment falls
Winnetka District 36 has seen its enrollment fall by 13 percent over the past 20 years.
But school tax bills for Winnetka homeowners are still climbing fast -- up 29 percent, from $19,580 per student in 1997-1998 to $25,180 in 2017-2018, adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis by the North Cook News.
District enrollment fell to 1,668 in 2017-2018 from 1,916 in 1997-1998, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) reports. Total district tax revenue rose from $24 million to $42 million over the same period adjusted for inflation.
The analysis comes as Winnetka residents head to the polls on April 2 to vote on a $90.6 million bond issuance referendum.
The money from the bond issuance would go toward improvements at various District 36 buildings, including three 100-year-old buildings. The work includes updating facilities, improving accessibility and upgrading infrastructure, including HVAC, mechanical, electrical and plumbing.
Higher property taxes for Winnetka
If the referendum passes, the burden for paying for the additional bonds will fall almost entirely on already-strained Winnetka property taxpayers. The district has said the owner of a home valued at $1 million can expect to pay $276 more a year in property taxes.
Property taxes covered 56 percent of District 36's total spending in 2017, according to the ISBE. That's down from 96 percent in 1997.
An October 2018 report found that the median home tax bill in Winnetka for the first six months of 2018 was $21,533, or an effective property tax rate of 2.23 percent. That's nearly twice the U.S. national average of 1.19 percent.
The median home price in Winnetka for the first six months of 2018 was $967,500, down 27 percent from $1.32 million (inflation-adjusted) in April 2009.