Sunday, January 01, 2006

Taxpayers deserve better from Dist. 203

This appeared as a letter to the editor in the January 1, 2006 issue of the Daily Herald. Imagine the millions of taxpayer dollars that could be saved if we had more responsible school board members like Mike Davitt.

Taxpayers deserve better from Dist. 203
Thanks to reporting by the Daily Herald, taxpayers discovered that many school districts were taking advantage of referendums through a loophole in the tax law (a loophole legislators are now scrambling to correct). Nevertheless, District 203 collected somewhere between $24 million to $36 million more than what was originally projected by the 2002 referendum.////

I made a motion to reduce our 2005 levy by $5.8 million (3 percent of our $200 million budget). My rationale was since we over collected $24 million to $36 million more than what voters authorized in 2002, returning some of it was the simply the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the majority of the board didn’t think we could afford to give any of the money back and voted 5-2 to keep it all. It was the same 5-2 vote that reasoned we could afford to give teachers a 5.2 percent raise for the next three years following six years of 6 percent raises.

Our operating budget has tripled in 15 years (from $69 million in 1990 to $200 million today). Has your home tripled in value? Taxpayers cannot be expected to sustain this level of spending growth.

If only taxpayers could borrow a page from the Naperville Unit Education Association play book and hold parents and students hostage with the threat of a strike perhaps they would have more leverage.

Merry Christmas, Naperville taxpayers.

Mike Davitt


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