District 300 Legislative Breakfast Focuses on Money – 3

This is the third in a series of articles about Monday’s legislative breakfast given by Carpentersville District 300.

Attending were various district administrators, board members John Ryan, who chaired the meeting, and Board President Joe Stevens, plus members of the public.

There were a lot of empty chairs.

State Senator Pam Althoff (R-McHenry) and State Representatives Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), Ruth Munson (R-Elgin) and Tim Schmitz (R-St. Charles) made up the legislative contingent.

Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Crates next took the floor. I can’t resist putting up a photo of here standing in front of the projector in which her face became the screen.

OK, I know I’m being naughty, and I’ve got a weird sense of humor.

But, there it was right in front of me—Crates’ face playing the role of screen. I couldn’t help myself when the word “Taxes” appeared on her cheek.

But, back to money.

Crates explained that in the last seven years the state’s share of the district’s operating budget has decrease from 29% to 16%. You can see the details on the screen, if you click to enlarge the picture.

She pointed out that as property value goes up, state aid goes down.

“We knew when the tax rate went up our state aid would go down,” Crates said.

She then attacked the state aid formula, pointing out something I had not realized:

District 300 is a mid-range district.

To me, that means radical change would leave District 300 pretty much unaffected.

“We feel it is incumbent to take on this problem and make it fairer,” she stated. “I understand the richer districts don’t want to help the poorer districts.”

At some point, appropriate here, State Rep. Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) interjected that some of the Downstate school districts have local tax rates of $1.15 per hundred.

His point was that, even if they were considered “poor,” their local taxpayers were not making an adequate effort.

School Board President Joe Stevens pointed out that the so-called transition money couldn’t be used to hire teachers.
The reason is because it disappears.

State Rep. Ruth Munson (R-Elgin) pointed out she and State Senator Pam Althoff (R-McHenry) has worked on getting the fast growth money.

“We’re looking at ways to get current year funding for special education.”

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