Our Commitment to Taxpayers
In addition to becoming recognized as a leader in the state and country in driving innovation for public schools, Huntley 158 has for several years maintained one of the lowest per-student spending rates in the Chicago area.
Among 54 unit districts in the 10 counties surrounding Chicago, Huntley 158 ranks as the #2 lowest-spending. Huntley 158 also ranks as the #2 lowest-spending among all districts in McHenry and Kane Counties.
These statistics demonstrate Huntley 158’s commitment to stewardship of our taxpayers’ dollars. The District has achieved this mark of fiscal efficiency while at the same time gradually raising employee compensation levels to remain competitive with area districts.
Some of the ways the District has kept its spending low is through systematic investment in innovative operations, maintaining in-house services that many districts outsource at higher cost, and adopting cost-containment approaches monitored by our Fiscal Services Department.
Among innovations that have helped keep the District’s operational costs low is investment in energy efficiency projects. Retrofits of existing buildings and energy-conscious design of new construction has netted more than $700,000 annually in energy cost savings over the past several years. Plans for large-scale solar power installations at each campus will net a minimum of an additional $4.2 million in energy cost savings over the next 20 years.
The District also has long maintained in-house operational departments such as transportation and food services that other district often outsource at higher costs. While managing these services in-house requires a high level of administrative organizational leadership, the District believes by doing so it is able to deliver a higher level of service along with lower costs than outsourced alternatives.
Huntley 158 also maintains one of the highest student-to-administrator ratios among its comparable districts. This means the District serves its large student population with a lean administrative staff, saving significant dollars annually on salary and benefits.
The Huntley 158 Board of Education has repeatedly authorized cost-saving measures in refunding and refinancing the District’s long-term debts. These moves have been made to take advantage of favorable conditions in the bond market in the past several years, amounting to millions of dollars of savings to taxpayers of the life of the debts.
Tax Base and Rate
While the Huntley area boasts beautiful school facilities, significant investment in new residential construction over the past several years, and a relatively low poverty rate, the District’s tax base is relatively low in comparison to other area districts. This low overall base is largely due to a low commercial property tax base within the area.
Huntley 158’s EAV (Equalized Assessed Value) Per Student of $132,007 ranks the District in the bottom third of comparable districts. EAV per student is a measure of the property wealth on which the District may levy taxes.
Despite this relatively low tax base, the District’s tax rate of 5.73 per $100 is also ranks among the lowest in comparison to area districts.
Typically, a district with a high tax base on which to levy taxes will have a lower tax rate. Likewise, a district with a low tax base must levy at a higher rate to receive adequate funding. This unusual combination of low tax base and low tax rate reflects Huntley 158’s commitment to the highest degree of fiscal and operational efficiency.
To view further detailed reports on the District’s finances, visit the Fiscal Services Department webpage.