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Argo School District 217 provides tax relief for residents thanks to state grant

Argo School District 217 provides tax relief thanks to state grant 02:08

SUMMIT, Ill. (CBS) -- Usually, we hear about some school districts asking for more money – which often comes in the form of a property tax hike.

But as CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Wednesday, one southwest suburban school district is able to do the opposite – and give money back.

The halls are quiet at Argo Community High School in Summit, given that it's spring break. But Argo Community High School District 217 Supt. William Toulios says there is still excitement in the air.

"We try to help out every family as much as possible," Toulios said.

This time, the help is coming in the form of property tax relief – more than $1.7 million of it, divided, and staying in the pockets of all district home and business owners.

"Each taxpaying body of a business, or homeowners, will get that money back on their tax bills," said District 217 School Board President Dan Kozal.

That money will amount to $168 to $240, on average, per property owner thanks to an Illinois State board of Education grant. The $50 million state program is open to eligible districts – selected based on evidence-based funding needs.

"The evidence-based funding model was to basically make an even plane across all schools – no matter financial status, or even economic status for students," Toulios said.

Both Toulios and Kozal say the fiscal boost is especially important to families in the half dozen suburbs that feed the high school, because so many of its families are working class and trying to make ends meet. That is especially true now, with record-high inflation driving the price of everything way up.

"There's a lot of first-year Americans here – a lot of immigrants – and I think, you know, everything helps," Kozal said.

The only downside is that the money may not help every student's family – only those who actually own property rather than renting it will get the relief. Kozal hopes otherwise.

"You pay it forward to the next person," Kozal said. "I hope that someone would have some common courtesy to do that – especially in these times."

District 217 was one of only 37 school districts statewide to get the state grant.

There is one other catch – the state will fund the tax relief this year, but next year, the $1.8 million will come from the district revenue. But the superintendent said the district has the extra reserves to pay for it.

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