Susan Handelsman Outlines Possible D200 Cost Savings

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 (

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


Susan Handelsman Outlines Possible D200 Cost Savings — 57 Comments

  1. Handelsman and Gessert are running for school board and ALL THEY TALK ABOUT is taxes!!

    What are you going to do for EDUCATION, the students, the parents, or the teachers!?

    As a Woodstock home owner I have NO PROBLEM with the current property tax rates.

    Those 2 are definitely not getting my vote

  2. I am still stuck on the fact that Gessert and Handelsman are actively suing the school district and did not admit that when asked.

    Susan said she forgot Gessert flat out said no she wasn’t involved.

    I am all for saving some money but I have listened to Susan at length and I do not understand how anything she is saying is going to save the taxpayers money while providing a quality education.

  3. It’s a tax protest suit about which I have written.

    The contention of the suit is that the school district has too much money in reserves to levy the taxes it did.

    Tax Protest Suit Against Woodstock Unit School District 200 – Part 1

    Tax Protest Suit Against Woodstock Unit School District 200 – Part 2

    Tax Protest Suit Against Woodstock Unit School District 200 – Part 3

    Tax Protest Suit Against Woodstock Unit School District 200 – Part 4

    Tax Protest Suit Against Woodstock Unit School District 200 – Part 5

  4. The full context:

    a question was asked at candidate forum whether family or business interests posed a conflict of interest for the candidate.

    Others were answering in the context of family members who are teachers, or business contracts, so the tax objection suit honestly didn’t occur to me at that time.

    After the program ended an audience member informed me that I had answered the conflict question incorrectly.

    I agreed with her and took steps to post that information on this blog and on

    In candidate Q&A I had disclosed being a plaintiff in that suit against D200, and never attempted to keep it secret.

    It goes without saying that a school board member should recuse herself from voting on matters which materially impact financial position.

    I assume that goes for members voting on teacher contracts while receiving household income relative to terms of that contract.

    Furthermore I offered, if elected, to try to drop out as a plaintiff.

    If that is not possible I would donate any settlement to food pantry.

  5. I think Ms. Jaco is not telling the whole story.

    She has declined contact with me for quite a while, and has not listened to any substantive cost saving suggestions I have described.

  6. Which part of the story can I answer a question about for you?

    Ask away.

    You forgot and Gessert lied.

    Yes we were communicating until you made the comment that Clay children are not Syrian refugees.

    Right about then I realized that we just needed to stop taking to each other about this election.

    We are adults when we spoke months ago we realized we were going to need to agree to disagree but that is not happening.

    It was email after email about how I needed to quantify this and quantify that.

    No I don’t need to do that.

    As I explained to you in an email I will not put a dollar sign on any child’s education.

    It’s nothing personal it’s just how I feel and what I believe in.

  7. Ah, “It’s for the children” spendthrift baloney.

    Tells me a lot!

  8. Susan is wildly unqualified to hold office.

    She has not had kids go through public education.

    She has never taught.

    Susan does not hold a relevant degree to manage or advise on education.

    She doesn’t own a small business.

    She isn’t a job creator.

    She is running for office to pay as little as possible to support the community.

    She doesn’t talk about kids, parents, or how to improve education.

    Just cost cost cost cost.

    It’s like she has aspergers or something with a hyper focus on numbers.

  9. Susan has researched the district and public education, questioned the board members and administration in the school district, attended school board meetings, served on a committee in the school district, and reported her finding on the blog.

    She has done so for no compensation.

    She represents taxpayers concerned about high property taxes.

    Ms. Handelsman has done more explaining to such taxpayers about data she found buried in board minutes, reports, education websites, and in information received via FOIA requests, than incumbent school board members or any other candidate.

    She is running as a slate with Barb Gessert.

    So if you are concerned about cost cost cost and high property taxes high property taxes high property taxes vote for Susan Susan Susan and Barb Barb Barb.


    For many people, their home is their largest investment.

    High taxes can erode the return on that investment.

    The old mantra was, have to invest in education to maximize your property value.

    As a result, not enough people were scrutinizing costs, and costs kept rising, and as a result property taxes kept rising.

    Now there are people such as Susan and Barb questioning that old status quo mentality.


    Susan and Barb by themselves would be only 2 members of a 7 member school board.

    It takes a majority vote to create school board policy.

    So two school board members by themselves would not change any school board policies.

    Others on the board would have to agree with any proposal they brought forward to create new policy.

    If you believe the costs should be further scrutinized in the district, vote for Barb and Susan on Tuesday April 4, 2017.

    There are 10 candidate on the Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 ballot.

    Barbara Gessert is the 4th candidate.

    Susan Handelsman is the 5th candidate.

    There are four open board seats, but one can vote for only two if that’s their preference.

  10. correction.

    Susan Handelsman is the 8th candidate.



    Barbara Gessert is the 4th candidate.

    Susand Handelsman is the 8th candidate.

  11. There is a huge difference between searching and research and data is not always fact.

    I serve on a committee with Susan Handelsman and I just do not think her or Gessert belong on our board.

    It’s not because she wants to save money.

    We all like that.

    It is not because she doesn’t have kids.

    People please stop saying that, she is a resident which gives her the right.

    It is because after speaking to her and being on this committee with her I just feel the board is not the right place for her or geasert who seems to be along for the ride,

    Susan knows how to search for data but as I said searching is not research and data is not fact.

    Do we need to find some ways to cut costs?

    Yes we do but the cuts Susan and Barbara are will to make will only cost us in the end.

    We need D200 to be attractive to prospective residents so Woodstock can thrive.

    Cutting at the drastic level I fear geasert and Handelsman would is not going to accomplish that.

  12. Meri, there is no such thing as the “perfect” board member.

    The board needs diversity in outlooks.

    And the choice in this election is between Susan and Barb and the status quo candidates who got Woodstock into this mess.

    We all know that significant savings can be accomplished without laying off a single tenured teacher.

    How do we know that?

    Because neighboring school districts spend far less per pupil than Woodstock does and achieve essentially identical results.

    Susan and Barb will be reality checks that won’t exist on the board without them.

    The public will be better served with a couple of board members who ask questions and demand data.

  13. Full context:

    Ms. Jaco and I were exchanging emails regarding the possible consolidation of Clay Academy (we are both on facility review committee).

    Admin has implied that the Clay tuition students cost D200 taxpayers nothing.

    I disagreed and asked for numbers (not yet entirely disclosed).

    Here are data which I felt were important factors for the committee to consider when deciding whether to close the Clay building:

    Clay building enrollment capacity 300, enrollment 63-69 in 2016, 60 in 2015.

    D200 students were 11 of 69 in 2016, 29 of 60 ( ?) ( stated enrollment for Clay was 60)in 2015.

    Tuition paid by out-of-district students 2016: $29,260 . 2015: $26,600

    State personnel reimbursement total ATTRIBUTABLE TO D200 STUDENTS AS WELL AS TUITION STUDENTS:

    2016: $223,700.

    2015: $211,200.

    Cost to operate Clay Academy stated by D200 Admin to facility review committee, copies of two different handouts available on request): $2 million. ($1.93 million 2015).

    Costs include $1.8 million staff, $170,000 ops &maintenance of building.

    $2 million annual stated cost does NOT include the capital improvements to Clay building, which would be analyzed differently if only (11) D200 students were taken into account.

    Admin repeatedly cite the need to keep open Clay, a 300 capacity building with tremendous ongoing maintenance expense needs, in order to be attractive to tuition students.

    There is a stated need to spend $2.2 million on Clay building near term.

    My assumption ( have not received requested figures) is that in past 8 years more than a million has been spent on Clay building.

    $2 million annual cost also does not, to my knowledge, include the following costs which must be borne by D200 taxpayers on behalf of out-of -district students :

    Exterior facility maintenance( plowing, mowing, etc.),

    liability costs ( insurance premiums attributable to tuition students in special education programs and staff estimated at 35 ),

    unfunded pension liabilities affiliated with a staff inflated to accommodate out-of-district students,

    and the share of general District Administration staff (and District special ed administrative staff) time attributable to Clay specifically ( with Clay being comprised of disproportionate amount of non-D200 students).

    Look at 2015. COST $1.93 million cost to operate.

    Divided by 60 total students= $32,000 annual cost per student.

    Attributing half the State personnel rebate to out of district students: $112,000/31= $3600.

    Tuition of $26600+$3600=$30,200 revenue per out-of -district Clay student.

    That alone is less revenue per pupil than the cost to operate Clay per pupil ($32,000).

    Adding in $100,000 per year of capital building improvement costs divided by all 60 pupils increases cost-per-pupil by $1600.

    Adding in estimated $50,000 exterior maintenance adds another $800.

    (exterior district wide annual maintenance costs were stated as $2 million by Admin. There are 18 buildings, counting each high school as two units worth we can roughly attribute $100,000 per building annual,exterior maintenance cost.).

    Adding in something for liability? Tort fund expends $700,000 annual?

    Adding in something for unfunded pension liability? For 11-29 students of our own out of total enrollment
    70-60, we must presume we could cut staffing needs by more than half.

    Adding in something for the time-cost of1 Superintendent, 3 assistant Superintendents, 3 Administrators with Special Education in their titles…

    The numbers for 2015 WITHOUT accounting for undisclosed costs are:

    Tuition students each paid $30,200.

    The COST to D200 taxpayers per out-of-district student was at least $34,400.

    I believe the subject of converting Clay into an independent not-for-profit Charter School should be investigated.

    Members of the facility review committee are resistant to any sort of charter school discussion.

    (As to Asperger’s Syndrome, Ms. Jaco, are you suggesting that individuals with that diagnosis should be prevented from holding public office? I do not understand the relevance of your question).

  14. No Susan,

    I think you shouldn’t serve because you are out for yourself.

    Everyone cares about high property taxes and to claim to be the spokesperson for that group is to overly inflate your ego.

    You sound like college liberals who took one class on economics and think they experts.

  15. There is no way to lower the tax rate for one individual.

    If the levy is lowered, it lowers the tax rates for all citizens within the taxing district.

  16. I can see how Front Page could believe that.

    That is exactly what the demorat party has run with since time immemorial.

    Funny how indoctrinated they have become.

    Don’t sociapaths always accuse others of what they are guilty of doing?


  17. Barb Gessert and Susan Handelsman are running on a platform to reduce property taxes for all property taxpayers, not just their property taxes.

    Barb Gessert and Susan Handelsman are the only two candidates focused on reducing property taxes.


    Isn’t it interesting the Woodstock school district is not making it easy for Susan to uncover all the costs associated with operating Clay Academy.

    Does the district not know all the costs, or are they putting up roadblocks?

  18. Ms Jaco, let’s talk about the kids. Do you realize that the average household cannot cannot afford an average home anymore because of the taxes?

    Do you also realize that the people of D200 pay 3x the national average in property taxes and nearly 4x the national average (as ratio of household income) to education?

    Do you realize that this will mean no college savings for most children and thus likely less chance for a college education at all?

    You may be so well off that you don’t have to worry about this, but the rest of us do.

    When a school wants to give out 10% pay increases to their Superintendent, spend millions on a turf field for a half occupied, 100 year old school and continue to operate Clay school with well less than 100 students in it, its time we ALL got involved!

    I praise Gessert and Handelsman for taking the yoke on what will and has been a very unpopular row to hoe.

    No one, least of all these two, want to negatively impact student educational opportunity, but spending money foolishly and thoughtlessly does not guarantee smarter kids.

    For those of you that are so well off that property taxes aren’t an issue, I have a suggestion.

    Take out your check book and write a check to D200.

    Write that check for the amount you would otherwise have put away for your kid’s college, for your retirement, for your vacation, for your new car, for all the things that the ‘average’ Woodstock resident can’t afford because of the property taxes.

    As you’re writing that check, imagine that sinking sense of panic as you wonder how your kid will be able to excel in life without a college education and if you will be able to someday retire before you die at your desk.

    That’s the feeling the rest of us live with every day.

    If everyone who felt that taxes weren’t a problem wrote this check, perhaps the school district wouldn’t need to levy so much and the rest of the population (the average and below average income) would get a break.

    Can we at least agree that we can close the admin buildings and Clay? How are the kids harmed in that?

  19. Mark, the next meeting of the facility review committee is this Thursday after election.

    I will ask at that time for the details of Clay Academy revenues and expenditures be stated in order for the committee to make a well-informed decision as to shuttering the Clay building or not.

    The meeting is live streamed and videotaped.

  20. I would also ask, but expect to be rebuffed, that all Facility Review Committee voting members declare whether or not their property tax paying household derives income from D200.

  21. That would be a good school board policy.

    A disclosure document for each committee member including if the member or direct relative receives any sort of compensation from the school district, be it as an employee, a vendor, etc.

  22. Susan-

    I agree with that.

    Also ask what it would cost to move them and accommodate them somewhere else.

    Many people do not understand all the functions of Clay.

    This will be good info to have.


    I understand we need to lower taxes and I understand that there are savings to be made.

    I do not believe in overcrowding the schools to do this.

    We can not just go around closing bunches of schools and sticking kids here and there to save money.

    I also believe that if we take drastic measures now when Woodstock grows, which it will, we could possibly be spending more than we saved to undo what we did.

    Also I believe that if we do not have an attractive school system Woodstock will not grow.

    I am not wealthy or “well off” hell some months not even “comfortable so I guess by what you said I am an average Woodstock resident.

    So me taking out my checkbook is not an option at this point in my life.

    What is an option is to help find a way to lower taxes while not taking a machete to our schools budgets. Again can we find some ways to save, absolutely but I dont want one child suffer because of it.

    As for being involved…oh this is a touchy subject for me.

    Not enough people are.

    People can not just sit on the internet and blog and post and hope things will get better.

    Not everyone has the time, I get that, but I would like to see more help and less complaining.

    You have to be cautious as well because just because you have involved people does not mean all of their data is accurate and that their personal opinions are for the best of all involved. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday~ make your day great!

  23. It’s impossible to make a good facility decision without understanding the revenues and expenditures of the facility, and any overhead associated with that facility.

    There should be no decision until that information has first been fully disclosed and understood, and then had time for the committee members to analyze the data, and then have time for the committee members to ask the administration questions about the data.

    If that information is not being disclosed, one could write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper explaining the situation, and submit an article to be posted on the blog.

  24. Ms. Handlesman and Ms. Gessert are presenting ideas.

    The costs and benefits of the ideas would be debated by committees, there would be public involvement, and any proposed changes voted on by a school board.

    There would be time to vet their proposals, and since both are pro transparency, there is no reason to believe they will be hiding data they uncover.

    Here’s a question.

    Why doesn’t the school district post on a website, for the benefit of taxpayers and committee members, more documents and information related to the costs of operating the school district.

    The public paid for the data.

    Show us the data.

  25. Clay sounds like a wonderful program, but Woodstock citizens simply cannot afford to operate a wonderful program for largely the benefit of providing other wealthier districts’ students a low cost alternative.

    There has been a number given for tuition–$35,000— for sending D200 students to SEDOM, but then I’ve been told SEDOM no longer exists.

    What would our students AND the other 80% of Clay enrollment do as an alternative? We should all want to know that contingency.

    Perhaps if ALL 70 Clay students enrolled at SEDOM the tuition rates would drop.

    But I do continue to believe that Clay Academy—building and staff– could be spun off as a non-profit charter school, to the benefit of ALL stakeholders.

    There is a vast chasm between “overcrowding” schools and operating schools at current extremely low enrollment-to-capacity ratios.

    We are attempting to make dispassionate analyses of our current situation and best-outcome-possible solutions.

    D200 has some schools at ‘full’ capacity, and nobody has suggested adding to those enrollments.

    More involvement from ALL citizens is critical to survival of community as a whole. For sure.

    So we agree on a lot of content…and I’ll be the first to agree that my delivery is not typical of politicians.

    If I offended anyone with my communication style, I apologize for the disruption of forward progress that has caused.

  26. The Special Education District of McHenry County (SEDOM) exists.

    It is a Special Education school district.

    It’s headquarters is in Woodstock.

    What happened is Woodstock District 200 withdrew from SEDOM when Ellyn Wrzeski was the Superintendent of CUSD 200 (she’s since retired and began receive a TRS pension effective June 28, 2014).

    Here is some history behind that decision:


    Woodstock Independent

    October 2013

    District 200 Withdraws from SEDOM

    by Elizabeth Harmon

  27. The teacher union and Administration would likely heavily fight spinning off Clay Academy as a non-profit charter.

    It has to do with the flow of money and control.

    Also, there are a lot of state regulations regarding charter schools.

    There is a big learning curve and a lot of effort that goes into starting a charter school, especially for one that has not been involved in the process.


    As some history on that, the teacher unions in Illinois traditionally were the dominant political force in Illinois politics.

    They typically got a lot of what they wanted.

    They don’t want charter schools.


    One place to start with understanding charters is Chamber Lakes Charter School (RCDTS Code 31045300026201C) in CUSD 300.

    There is an associated Cambridge Lakes Charter School district (RCDTS Code 31-045-3000-AA-AA00).

    An an associated Cambridge Lakes Preschool district (RCDTS Code 31-045-064P-00-0000).

    RCDTS = Region – County – District – Type – School.

    It is a code assigned by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

  28. Logically if the review committee has ideas of change there should be a referendum.

  29. That is good idea. A referendum would represent views of entire community at the time.

    So if the facility review committee can come up with well defined options for possible changes which would save money and advance equity between students attending different schools, the committee can also advise school board to create referendum .

  30. A referendum to cut costs?

    Never heard of such a thing.

    Maybe an advisory cust cutting referendum?

  31. In a November 15, 2015 article the Chicago Tribune published effective property tax rates of municipalities in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, & Will Counties.

    Effective property tax rates are the property taxes as a percentage of a home’s market value.

    In addition to the municipality, the article took into account some combinations of townships and school districts.

    That is noteworthy because property taxes vary depending on the exact mix on property taxing districts on ones property tax bill.


    The article listed the effective residential property tax rates of 389 municipalities, ranging from 1.25% in Oak Brook to 10.48% in Ford Heights, with an average of 3.53%.

    Here are averages for the various counties, and property taxes on a $300,000 home:

    6 county average (3.53%) – $10,590.

    Cook County Residential (3.65%) – $10,950.

    Cook County Business (9.13%) – $27,390.

    DuPage County (2.76%) – $8,280.

    Kane County (3.62%) – $10,860.

    Lake County (3.60%) – $10,800.

    McHenry County (4.00%) – $12,000.

    Will County (3.30%) – $9,900.

    Woodstock Dorr Township (4.60) – $13,800.

    Woodstock Greenwood Township (4.48) – $13,440.

    Some municipalities were listed twice as described above and will become evident when one comes to the Woodstock example.


    There are probably some higher property tax rates if one were to include Special Service Areas (SSA’s).


    Woodstock Dorr Township is # 52 of 390 in the Tribune article.

    Woodstock Greenwood Township is # 61 of 590.


    All counties tax business at the same rate as residential, with the exception of Cook County.

    That results in some very high property tax rates for business in Cook County.

    As a result, TIF districts are very popular in Cook County.

    It is noteworthy that Michael Madigan is a property tax attorney and the firm in which he is a partner has some of the highest property taxpaying Chicago skyscrapers as clients.

  32. Have never heard of a referendum to consolidate schools within a district.

    Seems like one can do an advisory referendum for just about anything though.

  33. So compare the effective property tax rates of Woodstock Greenwood Township to McHenry County as a whole, on a home valued at $300,000.

    Woodstock Greenwood Township (4.60%) – $13,800

    McHenry County (4.00%) – $12,000.

    The difference for one year is $1,800.

    The difference over a 15 year mortgage is $27,000.

    The difference over a 30 year mortgage is $54,000.

    That’s the extra property taxes just from increasing the effective property tax rate by 0.60%).

  34. Now let’s compare the effective property tax on a $300,000 home in Woodstock Greenwood Township to the average effective property tax rate in the 6 county (Cook, Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, Will) region:

    Woodstock Greenwood Township (4.60%) – $13,800.

    6 County average (3.53%) – $10,590.

    The difference for one year is $3,210.

    The difference over 15 years is $48,150.

    The difference over 30 years is $$96,300.

  35. Mark, you should also consider the effect of ‘property tax rate capitalization’ on home values when comparing an outlier high rate area like Woodstock to the rest of Illinois and America.

    The academic reference is:

    by Gallagher, Kurban and Persky.

    The anecdotal example is:

    In 1998 Woodstock D200 bought a building for Administrative offices, just off Woodstock Square, for $365,000.

    Now, 19 years later, the building’s estimated value is $400,000, a 10% increase.

    Case-Shiller index of home values is up over 100% in that period, and their commercial real estate value index is up 80%

  36. So not only are people losing the cash value of property tax over-payment (for no value in return–everywhere else there are also schools and other social services provided in return for fair tax rates), but people are losing home value every year relative to an investment in a home anywhere else.

  37. Here is the number of traditional school districts in that 6 county area (not including special education districts, charter school districts, ROE, EFE / vocational school “districts”, township school treasurers in cook county, etc.):

    Cook County – 143 (rough estimate)

    DuPage County – 26

    Kane County – 9

    Lake County – 44

    McHenry County – 18

    Will County – 28

    Total – 268 (rough estimate).


    Every single Principal in every one of those 268 school districts says they have the best teachers.

    And, we need to pay for the best.

    It’s a utopia monopoly.

  38. By property tax capitalization you mean when higher property taxes result in lower property values.

  39. And the associated opportunity cost, that being, if instead one had purchased a home where property taxes were less and homes were appreciating more, they would have a better return on their property investment.

  40. To compound the high property tax problem is the state pension problem.

    The biggest state pension problem is TRS, the teachers and administrator pension system.

    That system is dramatically underfunded.

    The party line is the state didn’t make its required annual contributions.

    Left unsaid is the required annual contributions were hiked by:

    – Hiking local salaries.

    – Diverting pension contributions to General State Aid which goes to school districts which is used in part for salary hikes.

    – Hiking pension benefits, as the TRS pension system was always underfunded (it’s never been fully funded since its inception).


    More money to pensions means less money available to educate kids.


    The Illinois Double Whammy

    – High Property Taxes

    – Underfunded Pensions


    Both are Tax Eaters.


    Think of underfunded pensions as the opposite of your money earning interest in a bank account.

    With an underfunded pension, the taxpayers has to come up with 100% of the lost interest (investment income).

    If the pension was fully funded, it would on average earn that interest.

    Underfunded, the taxpayer pays that lost interest (investment income).

    The more underfunded, the more the taxpayers has to make up the difference.

    It’s sort of like reverse compounding.

    Taxpayer owes more and more.

    It’s a very big problem.

    It means the pensions become more expensive to operate from a taxpayer perspective.

    Taxpayers really got the shaft on Illinois pensions and were tricked the whole time, and continue to be tricked.

  41. Why is my comment from 04/01/2017 at 9:34 am still awaiting moderation??

  42. Mark, the default setting is status quo.

    That means, the path of least resistance is through the taxpayers, and any disruption of that is ‘scary’.

    Yes it is very difficult to create a Charter school in Illinois (and evidently impossible to create one in McHenry County).

    Yet the default setting, status quo, means widows lose homes and median income children (half of Woodstock) don’t get to save for college, and a home bought in Woodstock today will be worth the same in 20 years while American home prices have doubled.

    We can insist that attention must be paid to the silent, ignored majority of taxpayers who have suffered for years and are finally realizing that no help is on the way.

    They are on their own.

    Is THAT acceptable?

    Is ‘it is difficult to change’ a legitimate reason to continue taking more than most people can give in order to fund a status quo which is mediocre at best (by America’s standards)?

  43. As I have explained many times previously, the first time someone comments, the program requires me to approve them.

    Guess I went upstairs too early.

  44. ANYONE who says that taxes aren’t that bad clearly are wealthy enough and draw their wealth from the system such as schools/school admin/govt. End of story.


    One doesn’t need to have screwed and produced offspring to be qualified to be on a board.

    Do you know how stupid you sound saying that not having spawn disqualifies you from pouring over a budget, making critical decisions ?

    The answer for you dumb blonds is “it makes you look very stupid’

  45. PrairieBurner or Meri Jaco, you are dumb as rocks.

    What are you, an “Independent Beauty Consultant at MARY KAY, or maybe a drawer of adult coloring books?

    YOU are the ones not qualified to do crap, but say Susan Handelsman, an accounting genius is not qualified to sit on a school board?


    what idiots they have living in D200.

    Products of the schools there?

    D200’s funding should be cut til they can teach better than turning out numb-nuts like that. (and these are the adults-Heaven help us!)

    I can only imagine the idiocy they’re turning out in their student body.

    Critical thinking, hard decisions and knowing the budget inside and out is exactly what’s needed.

    Not some emotional hair-brained idea of throwing more money at a bad situation provides.

    I think the truly undeducated protest too much!

  46. It is not impossible to set up a charter school in McHenry County.

    It would just take a lot of effort, so maybe put that low on the priority list.

    And definitely talk to organizations that have previously set up charter schools in Illinois prior to undertaking such an endeavor, to learn from their experiences.

    The state mandated public hearings one goes through to set up charters can be brutal, with for example the administration of the incumbent school district mercilessly pounding the requester with question after question of minutiae.

    For instance here is an incredible amount one has to know about state and federal law for IEP’s (individual education program).

  47. To all of you-

    You may not like what I say but you have all allowed me to say it. I thank you for that. Until recently no one has been rude or condescending to me nor have I to any of you. Here is the thing. I do not dislike Susan, I just do not agree with her and she does not agree with me. We are cool with that. Susan chime in here if I am wrong.
    We have met, we have agreed to disagree. When Susan was booed (literally booed) at the first community forum (a meeting we have after a committee meeting) because she does not have kids in school I got up at the very next meeting in front of 150+ people who were not happy with her and defended her right to say what she had said and to continue speaking. She deserved the simple respect one should have just for being a person. I even went as far as to tell people to approach her and speak to her. Which several did after the meeting and she thanked me. See this is nothing personal with Susan and I. It is what she believes and what I believe.

    Unlike semper fi up there who attempted to make it personal, Susan and I have never and would never resort to name calling, taunting and just plain being rude. The funny thing semper fi is you don’t know me, and of course we don’t know you because you hide behind a screen name. You googled my name, probably checked out my facebook got some info and off you went. I suggest you google Mary Kay and check out our success rates and what we make. You do not know what I am qualified to do, you don’t know me. From the above demonstration you have shown many of us who you are without even a name. I am sorry someone raised you to be this way. Regards, Meri

  48. Susan when did we have a conversation about asberger’s syndrome and being on the board?

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