A press release from Carpentersville School District 300 [I have inserted some comments in brackets.] is below:
D300 opposes Tax Cap Bill as “anti-public service”
On Feb. 21, Senate Bill 2073 passed the Illinois House of Representatives including an amendment (#6) that was secretly attached with no public notice.
This bill is known as the Tax Cap Bill.
It is being framed by its proponents as a way to “protect homeowners and the middle class.”
The truth is that it will forever limit the ability of schools, cities, parks, and libraries to keep up with the growth in their communities and provide the services now in place.
SB 2073, Amendment 6, is anti-education and anti-public service. If passed by the Senate, it will have a long-term negative impact on District 300.
SB 2073 requires that if the equalized assessed valuation declines in communities with tax caps, such as the D300 community, the allowable increase in a taxing body’s levy would be 0 percent (or a higher rate if approved by voters).
Working closely with legislators, our latest information is that this legislation has stalled in the Senate and probably will not be called for a vote in the near future.
However, our experiences in Springfield have taught us that things change quickly and quietly at the state capitol.
We felt it was important to inform you of our concerns now.
While the flaws in this legislation are numerous, the following are the four primary reasons that D300 opposes this bill:
- D300 would lose about $5 million this year. [One could not the converse, which is that taxpayers would save $5 million.] That is the equivalent of increasing class sizes by 5 students per class, when our class sizes are already some of the largest in the state.Even a one-year reduction in funding would be permanent and compounding. [Compounding of the cost of living increase in public pensions is a primary target of pension reformers.] In other words, as D300 enrollment continues to grow by at least 300-400 students a year, our ability to serve all of our students would continue to shrink due to the permanent loss of revenues.
- D300 made significant sacrifices that parallel the sacrifices made by homeowners and businesses in our community. The School Board has cut $14.2 million from our budget in the past two years, with all employee groups making concessions and all schools being negatively impacted.
- Any legislation that seeks to decrease revenues for public services must be balanced with fewer mandates on public services. Like other school districts, D300 must follow dozens of unfunded state mandates. [Every school district has the right by statute to ask for waivers of mandates and have had that right since the mid-1990’s.]The state has also cut our General State Aid (GSA) by 10 percent and our transportation funding by 40 percent. Additionally, the chronic delinquency in state payments forces D300 to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest to cover those late payments. The state should not consider further eroding our local ability to pay our bills without first addressing the long-ignored issue of unfunded state mandates.