This post will be used to Discuss the Yorkville School District Referendum. Feel free to post your comments. The below articles where posted on the Beacon News website .
Not a terrible parent
The Yorkville School District referendum is turning neighbor against neighbor because folks are making it personal. I do not believe that anybody against the referendum believes that the school system does not need more money. They just believe, as I do, that the way to get the money is not through increased property taxes on existing homes. Yes, there are an abundant number of new families moving to the area and those children need to be schooled. The way to pay for those schools is to include that cost in the cost of all the new housing going up, not through increasing existing property taxes. The School Board can't seem to figure out why what they do comes across as a threat to most of us decent parents and residents. It is because it is. To close the schools for all activities is an absolute threat. Stopping extracurricular activities may be needed, but to close the publicly funded properties to the community is a threat for no other reason than to scare folks in to voting for this proposal. Why not say that anyone using the school will have to pay the true cost of using the facility or even a little more? That didn't seem to enter the conversation. There are always many options if you dig deep enough. Increasing taxes is just the easiest answer.
I am personally really, really sick of hearing what a terrible parent I am because I oppose the referendum. Sorry, but I volunteer to coach basketball, baseball and soccer.
The article below appeared on the Beacon News website.
Aldermen balk at school referendum
• Possible tax hike: City Council member says it's not his job to take a public position
By Heather Gillers
YORKVILLE — Drawing criticism from Mayor Art Prochaska, four members of the City Council refused to take a position this week on a plan to increase taxes to fund the city's schools.
Voters here will decide in two March 21 referenda whether the Yorkville School District will raise property taxes to help support a skyrocketing student population.
Aldermen this week debated a resolution lending official support to the tax increase, which school officials say is crucial.
But half the City Council — Aldermen Joseph Besco, Dean Wolfer, Rose Spears and Marty Munns — declined to take a public position. Only Aldermen Valerie Burd, Paul James and Wanda Ohare voted in favor of the resolution, which passed with three yes votes and four abstentions. (Alderman Jason Leslie was absent.)
Prochaska, who favors the tax increase, criticized the majority abstention.
"Part of the idea of being on a government board is you're there to give an opinion," he said.
But Besco suggested that informing constituents about his position on an issue outside the city's jurisdiction is not part of an alderman's job description.
"I didn't think that we should have to tell the people that we support it or oppose it," he said. "I didn't think that's our place."
Meanwhile, "mixed feelings" prompted Spears to hold her tongue. The alderman said she feels conflicted about supporting the tax hike.
"I know how important it is," she said. "However, many, many seniors cannot afford an increase in taxes."
Taxes on a $250,000 home would rise by a maximum of $607 if both referenda pass in March, said School Superintendent Thomas Engler.
One referendum calls for a $56 million bond issue to pay for the construction of three schools. The other calls for a tax increase to help the district staff and operate the new buildings, along with Grande Reserve Elementary School, which was built by developers.
School official say the district needs more money to cope with more and more children entering Yorkville schools. The district's student body has grown 73 percent in the past nine years, Engler said. Since school started this past September, 120 new students have enrolled.
Moreover, while experts recommend that classes contain a maximum of 22 students, some classes in the Yorkville district have more than 40 students, Engler said.