By: Brittany Flaherty Theis

At the end of October, Whitt Law Attorney Brittany Flaherty Theis and Chapman and Cutler Partner Kyle Harding had the opportunity to speak at two regional conferences hosted by the Illinois Association of School Business Officials (IASBO) and the Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators (IASPA). Ms. Theis and Mr. Harding spoke to school district administrators in presentations titled “The Assessment Squeeze: Property Tax Objections, Appeals and Refunds” and “Interfund Transfers – Do You Know the Rules?” Below you can read highlights from both presentations.

The Assessment Squeeze

The media, legislators, and taxpayers make property taxes a common target. And they do so without describing the high financial burden that taxing districts must meet through the property tax system in Illinois. The Assessment Squeeze presentation started with a description of the property tax cycle in Illinois and a comparison of the composition of taxes in Illinois to those in other states. Next, the presenters described the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, which limits the annual increase in property tax revenue certain non-home rule taxing districts may receive to the lesser of 5 percent or CPI. A significant portion of the presentation focused on property tax appeals – where and how they are filed, common issues on appeal, when, how, and why taxing districts should get involved, and practical considerations for entering into intergovernmental cooperation agreements to pool resources to achieve those goals.

Interfund Transfers

In Illinois, the ability of school districts to make loans or transfer money between specific funds is prescribed by statute in great detail. Mr. Harding and Ms. Theis presented information from the school law perspective and indicated that school districts regularly need to consider that interfund loans and transfers can have reporting, auditing, and bond implications. School administrators should work closely with their attorneys and auditors to ensure all interfund loans and transfers comply with applicable laws and regulations.

The regional conference presentation focused on particular statutory provisions that authorize specific loans and transfers, as well as any public notice and hearing requirements for such loans and transfers. Additionally, the presentation covered applicable 2017 legislative amendments, such as the amendment that extended the sunset provision in Section 17-2A of the School Code. The legislative amendments serve as a notable reminder of the importance of consulting with the school district’s attorney(s) prior to presenting interfund loans and transfers to a school board for approval. Ms. Theis also noted the value of consulting with the school district’s attorney(s) and auditor if a school district runs into a novel problem so that the administration can find a solution that complies with the applicable laws and regulations.

If you are interested in the PowerPoint presentations from these conferences, or would like to discuss any of the matters discussed in this blog post, please contact Whitt Law Attorney Brittany Flaherty Theis.