If You Don’t Vote Tuesday, You Are the Reason for High Property Taxes

That’s what Chicago Tribune editorial writer and columnist Kristen McQueary says.

Later in her column McQueary offers some “tough love”:

“Raise your right index figure and pivot that digit toward yourself.

“Yes, taxpayer.

“You are part of the problem.”


If You Don’t Vote Tuesday, You Are the Reason for High Property Taxes — 20 Comments

  1. I didn’t know there is a box on the ballot that let’s me vote for reduced property taxes.

    I would be sure to vote for that.

  2. Ted…it won;t happen over night with a vote, but I am sure if you start engaging LOCAL boards and hold them accountable they may realize someone is watching.

    Today Board rooms are empty for the most part.

    With out a check, we WILL get out of BALANCE and today we are out of BALANCE.

  3. I am running for D200 School Board.

    It is stunning to realize that the current board and 8 of 10 candidates do not realize or acknowledge that Woodstock’s 4.6% property tax rate is a problem.

    How do we get tax relief?

    First there must be recognition that a problem exists.

    When those empowered to tax and spend refuse to acknowledge the impact that has upon those who are taxed, presenting ideas for prudent spending is a waste of time.

    In this case there is no recognition of any NEED for efficiency, savings, or frugality (as evidenced by years of Woodstock’s 4.6% property tax rate).

    Next, there needs to be an understanding that no new revenue source is going to come along and bail out Woodstock.

    Non-residential revenue is impossible for a minimum of 8 years.

    The Enterprise Zone waives property taxes for 8 years.

    The TIF districts, Lakewood and Woodstock, divert all property tax revenue for 35 years.

    So it must be understood that any development in Enterprise Zone or TIFs will not only NOT contribute property taxes, they will RAISE tax rates by requiring costs of their social service provision to be 100% funded by property taxpayers outside the TIF and Enterprise Zone.

    (Additionally, businesses outside those TIFs are rightfully demanding tax concessions, being every bit as “blighted” or more than Craig Woods golf courses).

    (Any residential development below a certain price per unit will require our property taxes to be raised.
    The current tax levy charges $9000 per pupil per year.*

    (A new home is predicted to generate .6 school-aged population (based upon Census figures).

    That is $5400 new property tax cost just for school.

    Assuming school portion represents 66% of property tax bill total, any new home will need to,pay over $8100 in order to pay its own fair share at current 4.6% property tax rates.

    Any less than $8,100 will require rates to rise and current homeowners to pay more property taxes to subsidize new homes.

    An interesting model to examine is this:

    Assume that Woodstock home ownership shifts to only families with children and enrollment reaches full capacity 9,300 from 6600 current enrollment.

    Adding 2,700 more students would add $24 million annually to levy.

    This would raise school portion of property tax bill to 10.8% of EAV, which is 3.6% of total home value.

    There are many vocal people who are not feeling any pain due to 4.6% property tax rates, and they are getting out the vote to defeat any school board candidate who describes that there ARE people in pain due to extraordinary spending by Woodstock CUSD 200.

    * ( $10,000 if you account for lower cost pre-K/K), consider that and CAB debt bomb/ rising interest rates, and propensity for capital spending as offset for the portion of levy on fixed debt payments, around $10 million annual).

  4. Specific cost savings suggestions, other than consolidation of schools (9300 capacity/6600 enrollment, projected to decline in next 5 years):

    Cost savings begin with an admission that there is a problem.

    Woodstock property tax rate is 300% of national average, 91% higher than Chicago rates, and 24% higher than mean and median rates in McHenry County.
    Property tax rates literally define the amount of local public funds relative to the means of the local community.

    If Woodstock D200 is right, the rest of America is wrong.

    D200 spends 30% more per-pupil per-year than neighboring Unit District D158.

    D200 spends 30% more per-pupil per-year than Peers (similar demographics) nationwide (nces.ed.gov).

    1. Reduce Administration expenses for under-capacity-enrolled schools, by merging and consolidating responsibilities.

    2. Reduce expenses for medical personnel who provide services which may be obtained by students in town rather than in school.

    3. Reduce stipend and taxable fringe benefit expenses not expressly demanded in union contracts.

    4. Spin off Clay Academy–building AND personnel–as a Not-For-Profit Charter school run by parents of attending students (11 from D200, 53-59 from other districts).

    5. Allow bids for outsourcing maintenance–external (mowing/plowing) and internal (janitorial and building repair).

    6. Allow bids for outsourcing transportation.

    7. Examine all software licenses for redundancy and efficacy. This includes tutoring programs.

    8. Get rid of Admin building expenses altogether by moving Admin into under-capacity school buildings.

    9. Review contract award process with new filters for identifying true need (vs. desire) and looking for best price-to-value.

    10. Review quantifiable results and perform cost-to-value analysis of expensive dual language program.

  5. Need more Susans.

    Need less:

    “I didn’t know there is a box on the ballot that let’s me vote for reduced property taxes. “

  6. What is the point of voting in school board races if all of the candidates are former teachers, principals, or administrators?

    I’m so glad to see those in D155 and D200 really do have a REAL choice this election.

  7. She is Generalizing to get these deadbeat voters off their duffs to get out and VOTE this thiefs out of office…

    I get her point…. but it has been said before many times…

  8. Same with 155, and I will not be voting for the incumbents there, many of them there far too long.

    Hoping for a Final Four victory

  9. IMHO, the biggest contributor to high property taxes is overly generous government worker pensions.

    If the state wasn’t pouring so much money into doomed retirement systems, it could afford to fund local taxing bodies like it used to.

    This in turn would prevent school districts from having to cry poor mouth all the time.

    The best thing school board members can do to slow property taxes is to dig in and get rid of the “retirement pipeline” (i.e. pension spiking, i.e. giving 6% a year raises for the last four years of every teacher’s career) in the teacher union contracts that still have them.

    There are things local taxing bodies can do, but the larger problem is at the state level.

    “Local control” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    P.S. Susan is a gem, and every taxing body needs a board majority of Susans.

  10. Susan,
    I have a few questions for you because you seemed to have a huge gap in your resume.

    You seem to talk a lot about high taxes in District 200, and you are right, they are high, but I have a few questions for you:
    Ms. Handelsman, you say that you have been a sole propriotor for the last ten years, what is your business?

    Ms. Handelsman, have you ever had children in public schools?

    Ms. Handelsman, have you ever been a teacher?

    Ms. Handelsman, have you ever owned a small business?

    Ms. Handelsman, do you have teaching experience?

    Because, as far as I understand, you don’t have teaching experience, public sector experience, you have never owned a business, you don’t have any experience in education, you don’t have kids in schools nor have ever had kids in schools and you are a sole propriotor of a business that doesn’t employee anyone.

    From the outside looking in, it sounds like you are in running for office for just yourself and not anyone else.

  11. Why do you need education or public sector experience, or children in public schools, to serve on a school board? Board members should be watchdogs, not cheerleaders.

    School board members with ties to the government “public” school system border on conflict of interest.

    I suspect Susan is running to represent everyone who cares about how their excessive tax dollars are spent, and not just herself.

    Disclaimer, I have never met, spoken, or even traded emails with Susan Handelsman.

  12. For years, Susan has researched the school district, attended school board meetings, talked to school board members, and reported various findings on the blog.

    For the most part, the information she is reporting is not easy for taxpayers to locate.

    She is running for office primarily to represent those concerned about high property taxes and that is very obvious to any regular reader of the blog.

    Woodstock has higher property taxes than most surrounding communities.

    Ms. Handelsman posted on the blog her responses to the teacher union candidate questionnaire.


    McHenry County Blog

    Susan Handelsman Shares Answers to Woodstock Teachers’ Union Questions

    March 8, 2017



    Susan is running on a slate with Barb Gessert.

  13. Is this Mark guy Susan’s campaign manager or something?

    I know she frequents this website – I care about if she’s qualified and it sounds like she’s not.

  14. Mark is not Susan’s campaign manager.

    Mark is a frequent commenter on the blog.


    Susan is the most qualified candidate to represent taxpayers concerned about high property taxes.

    She has taken many hours of her personal time at no compensation to:

    – research the school district, property taxes, and public schools in general.

    – question the Administration

    – question board members.

    – Submit FOIA requests.

    – Communicate with taxpayers on this blog

    – Obtain and analyze financial reports, board minutes, and other documents on the websites located in the county, state, and country.

    No one else has taken as much initiative as Susan.

  15. Why isn’t Susan qualified?

    Why do you need education or public sector experience, or children in public schools, to serve on a school board?

    Board members should be watchdogs, not cheerleaders.

    School board members with ties to the government “public” school system border on conflict of interest.

  16. YouTube

    Illinois Policy Channel

    Madigan’s Money Machine: Illinois Property Taxes

    October 14, 2016

    “Flawed property valuations and the process required to fix them are a cash cow for Mike Madigan’s law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner.”


  17. Chicago Tribune

    Illinois Property Taxes Highest in Nation, Study Finds

    by Becky Yerak

    April 27, 2016

    “Illinois has the highest median property tax rate in the nation, with various agencies and entities taking a combined 2.67 percent bite, according to a CoreLogic analysis of real estate property taxes nationwide.

    Nationally, the median property tax rate is 1.31 percent, said the Irvine, Calif.-based data provider to financial services and real estate companies.

    That means that a home valued at $200,000 will, on average, pay annual total property taxes of $2,620.

    In Illinois, that homeowner would pay $5,340.”


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