From Woodstock’s Susan Handelsman:
UPDATE ON TAX RATE OBJECTION LAWSUIT AGAINST WOODSTOCK D200
1. Attorney Tim Dwyer is filing a tax objection, and plaintiffs have until late October to join the suit.
Recovery amount for each plaintiff is expected to be around 5% of property tax bill. No legal fees are risked by plaintiffs; in case of a successful suit, attorney will be paid half the amount recovered as fee.
2. Woodstock D200 has taxed millions of dollars for non-transportation purposes in the Transportation Fund, for the stated purpose of transfer to the rate-capped Ed Fund and Ops & Maintenance Fund.
Transportation Fund Levy went from $1.4 million in 2011 to $5.4 million 2015 (last year).
Furthermore, the District has raised its Special Ed Fund taxation from $568,481 in 2011 to $5.74 million in 2015.
Special Ed spending on medical personnel generates Medicaid reimbursements, which are treated as revenues in capped Ed Fund. Out-of-district Tuition revenues are treated as revenues in Ed Fund (NOT Special Ed Fund).
In effect, the District has an incentive to invite out-of-district special ed students to be educated at local taxpayers expense, while the tuition paid is made available for liberally-defined general Ed Fund spending (evading tax rate caps).
If the school wants to raise the tax rate cap on Ed Fund, one assumes they can easily obtain such legislation from friendly Springfield elected ‘representatives’.
In the meantime, the Ed Fund is capped at 4% of EAV, and schools all over Illinois manage to get along within that levy rate maximum.
Woodstock property-taxpaying homeowners are paying an obscene 4.6% of total home fair market value, as a result of tax rate cap evasion techniques such as those described above.
3. Look at comparative spending at D200 2011 and (last year) 2015. In just four years, they have increased spending by incredible amounts with nearly flat enrollment:
Average Daily Attendance reported to ISBE: 2011= 5873, 2015=5918 (45 more students. Remember these figures include ~200 Pre- Kindergarten, with annual costs (per Montessori equivalent tuition) under $2500/year.
Levy 2011: $55.2 million 2015: $58.8 million
GSA (General State Aid) 2011: $5.4 million 2015: $15.9 million
Let that sink in. This school has levied an additional $3.6 million at the same time they received an additional $10 million State Aid. ANNUAL additional $10 million!
Where is this money being spent?
44% increased IMRF and Social Security Find spending: 2011 IMRF&Soc Sec Funds expenditures: $918,179 2015: $1,318,376
Tort Immunity Fund: 2011: $0 2015: $796,000 ???????????? (Budget is only so specific, by law. This is why it is important to obtain specific information from school board, so citizens may scrutinize and look for anomalies).
4. The new budget will be voted in this Tuesday night at 7 pm at Clay Academy in Woodstock.
Clay Academy is an old building which is the subject of a large capital expenditure this year, an expenditure arguably in excess of the building’s total value. This building has 70 students. For many years until recently, it had 40 students. Enrollment capacity for the building?
That means, the building is being run at full capacity expense of utilities, maintenance, and staff… but with only 23% of enrollment capacity attendance.
5. Can Woodstock afford to be this wasteful and inefficient?
One might expect to spend more for good results, or if money is no object. Is that the case here in Woodstock?
D200 graduates students at a rate of below 50% College Ready.
Median Income households in Woodstock (living in median value homes) are spending over 12% of household income JUST IN PROPERTY TAXES!! Compare that to national average household income percentage expenditure on property taxes according to BLS (Bureau Labor Statistics): under 4%! Average Americans are ‘allowed’ to save 8% MORE of household income for, say, children’s’ college funds, while Woodstock parents are not—-Woodstock parents have to give that extra 8% of household income to D200 (And Woodstock City, and McHenry County).
6. Further damage caused by profligate spending?
Academic research indicates that excessive property tax rates are capitalized into home values. That means, OUR homes are worth less and less every year relative to homes ANYWHERE but here. (No escape if you lose a spouse or a job or simply want to move).
Homeowners here have an incentive to let home values deteriorate rather than improve and be taxed at 4.6% of fair market value (National average property tax rate is 1.4% of home value. Why spend money on home improvements when homes here deteriorate in value simply as a result of excessive property tax rates?).
Less discretionary income per household to spend at local businesses, causing further economic deterioration.
Existing businesses hurting, destroying jobs, New businesses demand tax breaks and TIFs and other destructive economic incentives, driving tax rates even higher.
7. What can we do to protect ourselves?
- Join Tax Objection Suit.
- Attend school board meeting Tuesday night.
- Run for school board, or call your school board member and ask them why are they doing this to us?