WASHINGTON — Residents will see a slight increase in their property tax rate next year for Washington Community High School.

School Board members Monday approved a $13.9 million property tax levy for 2017, payable in 2018. That will require an estimated tax rate of $2.70 per $100 equalized assessed valuation.

The tax rate for 2016, for taxes payable in 2017, as determined by Tazewell County, was $2.64. The estimate was $2.66.

The high school's 2017 tax levy has increased 4.9 percent from 2016, including 2.1 percent from existing property.

Under tax caps, taxing bodies in Tazewell can increase their tax levy from existing property by the previous year's Consumer Price Index or 5 percent, whichever is lower. The CPI is the measure of inflation set by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Sander said the 2.1 percent CPI is the highest he's seen since he began working at the high school in 2012.

Also at Monday's School Board meeting:

* Board members approved a three-year lease agreement for eight 77-passenger school buses with low bidder Midwest Transit Equipment for $13,353 per year per bus. That's a 29 percent increase from the $10,319 per year per bus cost charged by low bidder Midwest Transit in a three-year lease agreement the board approved in 2014.

Sander said bids were higher this year because bus companies factored in anticipated higher interest rates.

* Superintendent Kyle Freeman said plans to move the high school's graduation ceremony to Bradley University's Renaissance Coliseum beginning in 2019 are progressing and he'll bring a contract to the board for approval at an upcoming meeting.

The high school's graduating classes have outgrown the indoor graduation venue at Five Points Washington, where the ceremony is staged instead of Babcook Field if the weather is bad.

Steve Stein can be reached at 686-3114 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.