Roxana School District owes local business nearly $9 million

ROXANA, Ill. (KSDK) – The Roxana School District says it may lay off a third of its teachers, cut programs and could still go bankrupt – all because it now owes a local business nearly $9 million.

"The settlement of this tax objection case marks the beginning of a return to fair taxation for these districts," Madison County State Attorney Tom Gibbons said in a news release. "No single taxpayer should see their tax bill more than quadruple from one year to the next, especially when a district has demonstrated the ability to make ends meet on a much lower rate of taxation for all taxpayers of the district."

WRB Refining, which operates the Wood River Refinery, filed a lawsuit last year alleging that the Roxana School District was inflated its tax levies.

In 2010, the Roxana School District brought in approximately $3.53 million in property taxes from the refinery, according to the Madison County State Attorney's office. In 2011, that number swelled to approximately $14.46 million after the district set a property tax levy that increased WRB's tax bill by over 408 percent.

The district attorney's office says Roxana received $6 million from WRB in 2011 – that's 70 percent more than the year before.

"A nearly 70 percent raise from one year to the next is still an extraordinary bounty for a school district – especially in the difficult economic times everyone has faced over the last several years," Gibbons said in a news release.

The school district increased WRB's tax bill by 10 percent in 2012 --- bringing that number up to $15.9 million, and leading the refinery to file an objection.


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