Cary Grade School Board President Compares D26 Spending Cuts to D155 Hikes

This appeared from Scott Coffey in a comment. I think it deserves broader readership:

I always get a chuckle when someone “assures” me that something can’t be done.

We were told that alot in 2010 as we tried to turn around an insolvent D-26.

We were told to either jack up the limiting rate in order to fund our current unaffordable operating cost structure or just let the State come in and take over the district.

The voters put into office people that would do the hard work of fixing the district.

After significant restructuring efforts, here we are, seven years later, and D-26’s operating funds spent $7.2 million (or 23%) less last year than it did when we began in 2010.

D-155 in 2010 spent $83.7 million out of its operating funds, but grew spending to $92.9 million by FY16.

How is it that one district can CUT spending 23% while, at the same time, another district, facing the same economic issues and declining enrollment trends, GREW spending by 11%? What could possibly account for the wildly disparate trends in spending?

As to creating a unit district, I had written elsewhere that it would be exponentially harder than just creating a larger Elementary District.

At this point, I’m not sure what the incentive would be for Cary voters to merge with the other 3 K-12 districts.

But as a Cary taxpayer, I am extremely interested in D-155 running efficiently with an affordable and sustainable operating cost structure.

There is no reason it can’t.


Cary Grade School Board President Compares D26 Spending Cuts to D155 Hikes — 8 Comments

  1. My comments only related to the creation of a unit district comprised of an existing high school district and it’s feeder elementary districts, i.e., the unitization of D155 with some or all of its feeder districts.

    I repeat, I can assure you that the increase in payroll of certified teachers would eat up any savings attributable to other economies of size.

    This concept was the subject of a referendum in about 1975 and the vast majority of Cary and FRG folk wanted no part of a Unit District.

  2. It should also be pointed out that the voters of D155 have consistently chosen to have more smaller high schools than one huge high school such as is the case in Barrington.

    The 155 model of 4 high schools with an attendance range o 1500-2000 is more expensive than the larger model, but allows more students the opportunity to participate in athletics, music and all of the rest of the high school experience.

  3. I appreciate the desire to reduce the number of governments.

    I’ve counted and I have 58 elected officials I’m supposed to monitor as a good citizen, and that’s only at the local level.

    I’m not including the state or federal government.

    But there is an inherent tendency for governments to get bigger, especially large governments.

    I think that’s for two reasons.

    First is the “iron law of bureaucracy”.

    Every government wants to grow, and it’s easier for bigger governments because it’s harder to monitor them.

    The second reason is voter alienation.

    In a small town or a small school district, people feel their votes make a difference and a small number can rear up on their hind legs and raise a ruckus.

    In large governments, every vote counts for less and it’s harder to organize resistance.

    Hence, inertia is a function of size.

    So, in general I prefer smaller governments to larger governments.

    And smaller governments don’t increase the burden on the citizens. I have seven city council members to monitor.

    If Lakewood and Crystal Lake merged, I’d still have seven city council members to monitor.

    And the evidence is clear that smaller governments cost less.

    Lakewood, for example, actually has a lower tax rate than Crystal Lake despite having no commercial base to subsidize the load on homeowners.

    There are two real changes that would make my life easier, as a citizen and a voter.

    First, eliminate at-large positions.

    I have 4 county board members, 7 village board members, 7 park board members, 7 elementary school board members, 7 high school board members, 7 community college board members, and 5 township board members.

    That’s 44 elected officials right there!

    If I had single member districts, I could shrink that number to 7!

    Second, make administrative positions appointed rather than elected.

    The founding fathers created a system of checks and balances.

    The legislative branch is supposed to be a check on the executive branch, and vice versa.

    But clerks and assessors and road district supervisors and all the rest report to no one but the voters, and we can’t tell if they’re doing a good job or not unless they show up on the 6:00 news!

    All strictly administrative positions should be appointed and report to their respective boards.

    That would eliminate essentially all of the other 14 elected officials I’m supposed to monitor.

  4. As Steve Reick pointed out, we do not live in Democracy but rather a Representative Republic.

    I take this to mean that elected representatives are ‘bound’ to simply vote as it most favors their own particular constituency.

    The definition of ‘their own constituency” is not clear:
    is it one-man-one-vote?
    is it one-man-who-calls-or-emails-Rep’s-office-one-vote?
    is it one-man/dollar contributed-one-vote?
    is it one man/dollar-contributed-minus-poliitcal-capital-favors-owed-one-vote?

    As Illinois/McHenry County citizens suffering the worst of all tax worlds, we must assume that the individual citizen’s best interest is not a factor in the calculation of elected officials’ personal definition of

    Furthermore we must conclude that there is zero inducement for elected officials to take ‘the big picture’ (that being the ultimate economic survival of local citizens in general) into account when elected officials act/fail to act: their sole marching orders, in their own belief, are to fulfill the wishes of those narrow few to whom they answer(or by whom they are compensated).

    That sets up a condition as follows: Springfield is like a big courtroom of defense attorneys for guilty clients. These Reps/defense attorneys have no other purpose than to obtain release of their clients onto the streets, no matter the danger to society in general.

    We are insane to believe there is a potential political solution to this ‘problem’, when the ‘problem’ is making those who protect the inherent conditions of the problem wealthy beyond reason.
    We are also insane to believe that behavior will change after decades of the behavior, so lucrative to its practitioners.

    Be as free as a Russian

    Blockchain technology (on which Bitcoin was based) enables circumvention, bypass of corrupt centralized control.

    Learn it.

    Do it.

    Stop waiting for people to change.

    We can’t change them but we Can Change ourselves.

  5. Can Scott run for D155 with a slate to start addressing our largest tax burden?

  6. I would love to hear his views on D47.

    They just approved a tax levy increase but barely nothing has been said about it.

    Between the increase of 155 and 47 our taxes should be going up a lot.


    Economies of scale only work when they allow a leaner competitor to discover a way to provide the same or better service at a cheaper price.

    2 An economy of scale doesn’t automatically cause the same old processes by the same old business or government agency to suddenly become cheaper.

    If anything, large scale in a monopoly will cause prices to rise and quality to drop as competition moves from competing to reach more people and persuade them to purchase the service, to instead competing for turf inside the bureaucracy.

    This shift to bureaucratic infighting causes increased prices to pay for the extra soldiers in the turf war; and it causes lower quality service as the employees turn inward and pay more attention to the bureaucracy than to their customers.

    Why shouldn’t they?

    Their customers have no choice.

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