Palatine Township Elementary District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson tried Monday to allay residents' concerns about the potential financial impact of new residences proposed for the former Motorola Solutions campus in Schaumburg by saying Schaumburg should allow as few of them as possible or those that don't create costs for District 15.
Thompson told more than 80 members of the citizens group OurD15Voice that Schaumburg officials said they may aim for a less dense residential component on the 225 acres being redeveloped, one with less than the 2,700 units proposed and one that favors adults before and after their child-raising years.
"I think we need to have our voices heard so it's not 2,700 units, it's less," Thompson said at the town hall meeting in Rolling Meadows. "I think we will push for the largest impact fee we can and seek (age) restrictions on the property."
Impact fees are typically sought from developers to cover the costs on local governments during the year and a half between when new homes are occupied and their first property taxes are paid.
On the plus side, Thompson said he believes it's possible to design residences discouraging to families with children, so that new costs to District 15 aren't created.
The same developer, UrbanStreet Group, completed work on a 180-unit apartment complex on Algonquin Road in Schaumburg this summer. Though the complex was already 40 percent occupied a few weeks ago, it has not yet required a District 15 school bus stop, he said.
And the One Arlington Apartments complex built in the former Sheraton hotel by Arlington Park racecourse has been home to only one District 15 student since it opened, Thompson said.
The development is part of a tax-increment finance district approved in 2014 for the Motorola site, and that worsens the financial impact on District 15 by creating a two-decade wait for the increased property taxes the redevelopment is hoped to generate, Thompson said.
"Since we are so dependent on property taxes, this TIF is a big deal," Thompson said.
About 78 percent of the school district's revenue comes from property taxes.
While District 15's student population has dropped by about 100 kids each of the past four years, not every school has benefitted. Thompson suggested a fresh look at the attendance boundaries could help even the schools out.
He added that it would take nearly 1,000 new students on the Motorola site to prompt a referendum asking for funding for new schools -- a circumstance he finds highly unlikely.