For the next two years, or as long as tax increment is collected from the Downtown II tax-increment financing (TIF) district, the City may continue to share more than $800,000 in TIF revenue annually with the two school districts. On March 26 the Economic Development Committee recommended a new, two-year intergovernmental agreement among District 65, District 202 and the City. Under the agreement, the school districts would share $820,000, payable in June 2009, and $840,000, payable in June 2010; in return, the school districts would provide to the City a perpetual waiver of tuition payments for students in the Howard/Ridge TIF district.
Although the City has not received written confirmation from the state as to when the Downtown II TIF will expire, Robert Rychlicki of Kane McKenna, the City’s TIF consultant, said according to state TIF legislation, the City should be able to collect the increment for tax years 2008 and 2009, which would be payable in June 2009 and June 2010, respectively.
State TIF legislation allows municipalities to share a surplus of the tax increment with school districts if the districts use the funds for vocational or career training. William Stafford, CFO of District 202, said Evanston Township High School “appreciated the City’s considering this.” He described the new partnership between ETHS and Oakton Community College that provides both high school and community college credit for students who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement or fire safety. “We have about six courses now and hope to double this in the next year or two. It helps increase students’ skills that are geared toward jobs,” he added.
Dr. Mary Brown, CFO of District 65, said the District was “privileged” to share in the funds. “We have been able to expand our technology offerings. These dollars certainly enable us to provide opportunities to our elementary students,” she said.
Also under the TIF legislation, the City must make an annual per-pupil payment to a school district for any school-age child living in a TIF district. This new intergovernmental agreement would permanently waive those payments for any school-age children living in the Howard/Ridge TIF district.