From Woodstock District 200 Board candidate Susan Handlesman:
Tuesday night’s D200 Candidates Forum hosted by Woodstock Teachers
Incumbent candidates expressed an attitude of staying the course to provide excellent education to the students, and satisfaction over their efforts on the D 200 Board to cut costs and provide the most jobs in the community.
Other candidates made general statements agreeing that if cost savings could be obtained without cutting programs or affecting children in any way, they would consider those after thorough investigation.
One candidate stated that our 4.6% property tax rate really wasn’t that much higher than others and that her plan would be to bring businesses to Woodstock to pay taxes to the schools.
I argued that Woodstock’s 4.6% property tax rate was inflicting more harm to the community than any relative benefits yet described and that Lakewood TIF and Woodstock TIF districts ensured that no new businesses will contribute tax dollars to D200 for up to 33 years (15 in the case of Woodstock TIF if D200 refuses to object).
After Mr. Nattress had asserted that due to prevailing wage law no money could ever be saved by outsourcing,
I asked if the Board would allow an outsourcing bid from a transportation company hired by other Illinois schools.
that in this decade of flat enrollment the school had increased spending far above inflation rates, with levy raises until recent years, and has been receiving millions more per year in GSA without lowering the levy burden on taxpayers whose home values have plummeted and now languish near the bottom.
Barb Gessert spoke of the lack of representation of taxpayers on the school board, the 4.6% property tax rate crisis affecting children’s lives outside of school, and the oath taken by school board members specifically stating a duty to protect taxpayers.
Barb quoted the first line of the oath: “I shall respect taxpayer interests by serving as a faithful protector of the school district’s assets”.
One audience member strongly objected to statements made by the incumbents Nattress & Gilmore and gave each a fierce reproof at the close of the evening, otherwise uneventful with low turn out.
Hosts were courteous and welcoming, while overall presence was decidedly unfriendly to a tax relief message.