School District 203 is taking a huge hit financially as a result of change in state law.
At their latest board meeting, superintendent Dan Bridges announced that the district now owes Edward Hospital more than $2.2 million due to a new law that allows not-for-profit hospitals to be exempt from property taxes if they can prove they’ve made charitable contributions equal to or greater than the property taxes they would otherwise owe.
With that, Edward Hospital can also claim refunded property taxes dating back to 2007.
“It is a big chunk of money and I’m very disappointed that someone that we have such a close relationship with would basically –for lack of a better word – take the money from our kids,” said Board President Mike Jaensch.
“Edward has earned our tax exempt status by providing nearly $100 million in community benefits last year including a generous charity care policy that exceeds the state’s requirements,” said Brian Davis, the hospital’s Vice President of Marketing and Government. “We paid the taxes and notified each taxing body, as required by law, that we were seeking tax exemption, with the understanding that the money would be refunded provided that the tax exemptions were eventually approved.”
To fill this new budget hole, District 203’s Chief Financial Officer, Dave Zager, entertained the option to stop abating $3.1 million annually as approved in a 2008 referendum for capital projects.
“It certainly is at the pleasure of the board whether they want to continue that abatement or not,” he said. “That would certainly be the most obvious way of recovering that money.”
While Edward Hospital and the school district are working towards a payment plan that’s best for both parties, nothing’s set in stone yet.
“This refund would have a significant impact on our school district and what we would believe would be on our Naperville taxpayers,” said Bridges. “Mr. Davis did express his position on behalf of the hospital that he felt entitled to the whole refund. He did express a willingness to spread the payment over three years with no interest.”
Though the school district’s debt is the largest, other taxing bodies must now repay Edward Hospital including the city, DuPage County, Naperville Park District, Naperville Public Library, College of DuPage, and the Forest Preserve.
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