The article below was published December 21, 2005 in the Daily Herald . Mike Davitt has been the primary voice of reason on this school board. Many school boards across Illinois are partially made up of teachers, relatives of teachers, or retired school employees. These school board members are specifically recruited by teachers' unions to serve their interests and not the taxpayers interests. Many school districts have school board biographies on their websites for your viewing pleasure. This great quote from Mike Davitt appears in the article below "We have taken more from taxpayers than they were led to believe when taxpayers went to the polls in 2002," Davitt said. "In my opinion taxpayers did not authorize a blank check referendum."
Opposition aside, levy approved
By Melissa Jenco
The Naperville Unit District 203 school board approved a $169.4 million property tax levy Tuesday but left the possibility of a tax refund on the table for future discussion.
The board voted 5-2 in favor of the levy, rejecting several requests to lower it in light of the district collecting at least $24 million more than voters expected from the 2002 referendum request.
The levy the board approved is at least $5.3 million less than it could have asked for.
Board member Mike Davitt, who voted against the levy, proposed lowering it by another $5.8 million.
"We have taken more from taxpayers than they were led to believe when taxpayers went to the polls in 2002," Davitt said. "In my opinion taxpayers did not authorize a blank check referendum."
In the public hearing portion of the meeting, the Will DuPage Taxpayers Alliance asked for a lower levy as well. The group requested that it be lowered by almost $7 million, which would put it at $162.5 million.
"Let's make a strategic value of the district to be responsible with the money not just spend," said Kevin Hausman, a member of the group. "Spending alone doesn't improve education. Let's abate money."
Board members have expressed concern in past meetings about the effect of lowering the levy, which would essentially mean less money in following years as well.
One of the few people to speak in favor of the levy was Naperville resident David Shaftman.
"Why give $200 back to the average household income of $80,000 … and then endure a very large and growing deficit," Shaftman said. "To me that just doesn't check."
Board President Dean Reschke, Vice President Debbie Shipley and members Suzyn Price, Susan Crotty and Gerry Cassioppi voted in favor of the levy, while Davitt and Jim Caulfield voted against it.
After the levy was approved, Cassioppi suggested a one-time refund of at least part of the district's projected $5.8 million surplus.
His proposal would refund 3.4 percent of what taxpayers paid to the district in 2005. That would mean the owner of a $300,000 home would likely receive a refund of about $143.
"I think a one-time refund of (about) $6 million … done on a refund basis allows the district to take a more balanced approach, take into account the district's fiscal needs going forward," Cassioppi said.
The board will discuss Cassioppi's proposal in February.
The board will meet again for a work session at 7 p.m. Jan. 3 and a business meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17.