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Property Tax FAQs

Property Tax FAQs
Glenbrook Communications

What is a property tax levy?
A request for property tax dollars from the school district.  This request is submitted to the Cook County Clerk in December.  Upon review, the Cook County Clerk subsequently reduces the amount requested in accordance with the property tax extension limitation law (PTELL), which limits property tax increases, and other applicable criteria.  The result of this process, called the property tax extension, is the final property tax that is actually assessed.

Why are property taxes important to the school district?
The Glenbrook High Schools are primarily funded by property taxes (87%).  Through the support of our local taxpayers, the Glenbrooks have offered a comprehensive high school program rich in academics, activities, athletics, and the arts for all students.  Our students benefit from a team of exemplary teachers, coaches, administrators, and staff, and have access to excellent facilities and supports, all of which contribute to our students’ post-high school success in colleges, careers, and the military.  The support of our taxpayers has enabled the school district to ensure intergenerational excellence for our current and future students.

Is the amount of the property tax levy the amount that the school district will collect?
No.  The property tax levy is only an estimated request that is reduced by the Cook County Clerk’s office when the tax extension is developed. The following figures are the property levy requests and the final increases for the past five years:

                                     Tax Levy Request:

Tax Year CPI Factor New Growth Factor Total Request Actual Received
2020 2.3% 2.3% 4.6% 3.2%
2019 1.9% 2.3% 4.2% 3.0%
2018 2.1% 2.3% 4.4% 3.0%
2017 2.1% 2.3% 4.4% 3.4%
2016 0.7% 2.3% 3.0% 1.4%

Why does the school district request a higher rate every year?
The school district will request a rate higher than the final rate that might be anticipated in order to ensure the district has the opportunity to receive all the financial resources allowable by the law.  As stated previously, a school district cannot receive more than what the law allows, so even if the request is higher, the district will only receive the amount that is permissible under the PTELL.

How does the school district utilize property taxes?
Property taxes are used to support the entire operation of the school district, including the employment of highly effective educators and support personnel, and the operation of over 1.2 million square feet of facilities.  During the 2020-21 school year, 76% of the school district’s budget was dedicated to salaries and benefits.

Has the school district reduced expenses in recent years?
Yes.  For example, 

  • Since 2016, the school district has saved $9.1 million dollars in debt service payments, through the refinancing of existing debt.  As part of these savings, the school district is scheduled to become debt-free on December 1, 2027.
  • Beginning with the 2016-17 fiscal year, the school district transitioned to a zero-based budgeting approach.  Using this approach, all budgets begin with “0”, ensuring that the budget only reflects the actual expenses necessary to support the programs and operations of each individual department.  This approach has enabled the school district to continue offering a high level of services to our students, even when expenses have increased faster than revenue (e.g., cost of transportation services, health insurance, building improvements, and technology upgrades).
  • In 2020, through the support of its employee groups, the school district performed a comprehensive overhaul of its self-insured health benefits program resulting in a savings of $3.4 million in the first year alone, with subsequent annual savings expected to be at least $5.1 million.

How much is the school district requesting in taxes for this year?
Last year the school district received $115,269,773 in property tax revenue to support the district’s educational programs and general operations.  This year the school district has proposed a levy of $116,883,549 (1.4% increase) for these programs and operations.  

In addition to that 1.4% increase, the school district’s 2021 property tax levy also includes an increase for anticipated new growth of property within the school district’s boundaries.  This 2021 increase amounts to approximately $822 million dollars in new property, including “The Glen”.  The actual taxes to be paid on all of this new property will be determined by the Cook County Clerk when the tax extension is calculated.

How much are my taxes going to go up?
The average cost of a home in our community is $500,000.  Last year, a taxpayer with a $500,000 home paid $3,125 in taxes to Glenbrook High School District 225.  It is estimated that this year the average taxpayer will pay $3,190, an increase of $65.00.

I live in The Glen. Are my taxes going up with the elimination of the TIF?
Your property taxes are not expected to go up due to the elimination of the TIF.  Property owners have a line item on their tax bill each year for the TIF Fund. This is the portion of their total tax bill that is being paid into the TIF. Once the TIF concludes, that line item will disappear, and those tax dollars will instead be distributed directly to the various taxing jurisdictions. The total tax bill remains the same, but the individual line items will adjust on a pro-rata basis.  To view an illustration of how your tax bill will change, please click here.

How does my tax bill get calculated?
The Cook County Clerk establishes a tax rate based on the amount of taxes that need to be collected for every taxing agency.  This includes our villages, park districts, and school districts, among others, as well as Northfield Township and Cook County.  This amount is then multiplied for every $100 in equalized assessed value (EAV) for each property.  It is important to remember that your property’s value is set by the Cook County Assessor’s office.


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