Memo to State Aid to Education Reformulators

Those who have lived both in Cook and outside of Cook County know that real estate taxes are cheaper in Cook County.

Now, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn emphasizes that fact.

He doesn’t compare Chicago to McHenry County.  Instead he just compares Chicago to the rest of Cook County.

A report last June from Cook County Clerk David Orr noted that Chicago had the lowest composite property tax rate in Cook County in 2013, a conclusion very much in line with a Civic Federation analysis of 2012 data that studied a variety of Cook County communities and concluded that “Chicago had the lowest effective tax rates for residential and industrial properties.”

From over forty years of experience and research, I can tell you that we in McHenry County pay far higher property taxes in proportion to what our homes are worth than do people in Chicago and the rest of Cook County.

I know that State Rep. Mike Tryon knows this.

I think he once compared the tax bill vs. value of Mike Madigan’s home to his own in Crystal Lake.

Madigan’s was worth quite a bit more and he was paying quite a bit less.

Same with then-Govenror Pat Quinn.

So, when the State Aid to Education formula is being renegotiated, local legislators ought to argue for equal treatment of homeowners statewide.

Bigger local effort by suburbanites should be recognized.


Memo to State Aid to Education Reformulators — 2 Comments

  1. It takes two to destroy a school budget.

    Woodstock D200 has borrowed so much money that they are well above the 13.8% statutory borrowing cap, homeowners owe at least 6.5% of home value to D200 debt (the cap is meant to hold school debt no higher than 4.6% of total home value), and D200 ALONE taxes homeowners over 2.7% of total home value. (The total property tax rate in Woodstock is now above 4%).

    The borrowings are trending to disguise deferred/unpaid-accrued interest…to get back under cap and borrow more?

    Now an article appears in NW Herald praising D200 for buying laptops for certain students.

    “District moved dollars within budget, cut administrator to pay for student devices, curriculum” is subheading.

    But if you read the article, more than half of the $1.143 million cost is to be paid from a LOAN from Illinois.

    So what are we getting for $1.143 million dollars over 2 years?

    The article stated the following schools would be getting the laptops: Clay, Greenwood, Dean, Prairiewood, Westwood.

    The enrollment at those schools:

    Clay : 70 (out of a 300 capacity; the last 5 years enrollment has been between 43 and 70).
    Greenwood: 354
    Dean: 389
    Prairiewood: 457
    Westwood: 365
    Total: 1635
    $1,143,000/1635= $699.

    A quick check on Walmart shows laptops, tablets (retail!) well under $200 each.
    (example: Windows Nextbook 10 with detachable keypad $179).

    So how are D200 Board arriving at $700 per student expenditures?

    Who is selling the laptops to the District?

    Is this a no-bid contract?

    State Education Reform Regulators: HELP US!!

    Don’t help us by throwing more money into the black hole of this school district budget, help us by investigating the finer details of this school district’s budget. (official statement of latest 2015 bond issue by Woodstock CUSD 200 CUSIP 581158 showing past 10 years school-by-school enrollments).

    In a February NW Herald article, Crystal Lake District 47 describe s exploring technology for its students.

    Crystal Lake middle schools have far higher enrollment (roughly double) than the 1635 students being supplied laptops for $1.143 million by Woodstock D200.

    Below is excerpt from NwHerald article, indicating price to outfit their Crystal Lake d47 students with laptops/tablets.

    “Jenkins outlined what it would take to make District 47’s middle schools one-to-one by the 2016-17 school year, suggesting that if the board moves forward with the idea, to focus on professional development, infrastructure and hiring of two additional technology coaches over the next school year with the official roll-out the year after.

    The implementation cost would be, on average, $420,000 a year if the district went with Chromebooks or $530,000 a year for iPads, he said, adding that both numbers include the devices and infrastructure support.”

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