Susan Handelsman laid out her candidacy for the Woodstock District 200 School Board in comments, which are re-printed below.
She is running with Barbara Gessert.
I am running for D200 [Woodstock] 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).
Specific cost savings suggestions, other than consolidation of schools (9,300 capacity/6,600 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).
- Reduce Administration expenses for under-capacity-enrolled schools, by merging and consolidating responsibilities.
- Reduce expenses for medical personnel who provide services which may be obtained by students in town rather than in school.
- Reduce stipend and taxable fringe benefit expenses not expressly demanded in union contracts.
- 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).
- Allow bids for outsourcing maintenance–external (mowing/plowing) and internal (janitorial and building repair).
- Allow bids for outsourcing transportation.
- Examine all software licenses for redundancy and efficacy. This includes tutoring programs.
- Get rid of Admin building expenses altogether by moving Admin into under-capacity school buildings.
- Review contract award process with new filters for identifying true need (vs. desire) and looking for best price-to-value.
- Review quantifiable results and perform cost-to-value analysis of expensive dual language program. results and perform cost-to-value analysis of expensive dual language program.