Sports and Extracurricular "Miracle" in Belvidere

As reported Monday, the Belvidere School Board has figured out a way to save sports and extracurricular activities after pledging to kill them, if their spring referendum failed.

As reporter Jeff Kolkey put it,

If this were a game of chicken, Belvidere School Board members blinked first Monday night, possibly trading the long-term financial health of the school system for the good of the community.

How did they justify their 5-1 vote sitting before 650 (!!) residents?

They will spend down their surplus and counting on more, but not a lot more, State Aid to Education.

Here’s how the Rockford Register-Star reporter summed up what will happen:

Without an increase in local property taxes or significant increases in general state aid, the district will be borrowing money to meet payroll in about four years. With no tax increase and only conservative increases in state aid, the district’s $14.5 million education fund balance will turn into a more than $5 million accumulated deficit by 2012.

But just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’ll be back in February, the lowest turnout election in the two-year cycle.

Board member Dick Van Evera charged the audience thusly:

“This group has a responsibility and obligation to make sure the next referendum is a success — an overwhelming success.ra told the crowd. I charge all of you with this responsibility.”

Elections are about differential turnout and the tax hike folks apparently think they are better organized than their opponents.

And, they’re probably right.

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