Slight increase in tax levy to offset decrease in state funding for JWCC

Posted: Nov. 19, 2012 10:42 pm Updated: Dec. 10, 2012 11:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The John Wood Community College Board of Trustees adopted a resolution Monday night that calls for a small increase for the 2012 tax levy.

Mary Arp, the school's vice president of finance, said the increase would generate $126,905 in additional funding to help cover projected expenses and offset continued decreases in state funding.

"The (raise) is less than one half of one percent," said Larry Fischer, a trustee who is a member of the board's Finance Committee. "It's essentially flat."

The measure is expected to receive formal approval at the Dec. 19 board meeting.

The board also said it is possible the college may be required to pick up a percentage of pension costs from the state, in addition to funding for veterans' tuitions.

Arp said John Wood is owed $1.1 million in state funding this year, plus $380,000 from the fourth quarter of 2011 that is tied to equalization grants linked to property tax payments.

"We have not received any state money this year," she said.

The proposed aggregate levy for the JWCC District is $4.63 million. That represents the amount of collectible property tax "we intend to levy on the district," John Wood President John Letts said. The JWCC District consist of Adams, Pike, Hancock, Calhoun, Schuyler, Brown, Morgan, Scott and Cass counties.

The taxable rate for tax year 2012 is anticipated to be $0.34247.

The tax levy increase is less than 105 percent of the 2011 levy, meaning no public hearing is required as part of the Truth in Taxation Act.

Ideally, the formula for funding community colleges is one-third tuition and fees, one-third property taxes and one-third state funding. But with the state's ongoing budget woes, that formula has gone up in smoke in recent years.

Tuition and fees are currently responsible for 48.7 percent of JWCC funding, with the state portion at 17.9 percent.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted $6,511 in grant funding from the Illinois Community College Board to increase high school students' awareness of science, technology, engineering and math training, careers and work-based learning opportunities. Previous funds received from this grant program provided professional development for 16 high school and 14 college instructors to establish a stronger understanding and connection between district high schools and JWCC's career and technical opportunities.

• Learned that adult education is continuing its outreach efforts. There is a new classroom site at the Frederick Ball Community Center, and a GED class in Nebo is up to 14 students.