Monday, November 17, 2014

Wick's Words on D86 Proposed Tax Levy and Our "D181 Reflections"

Today we received the following comment from Mr. Wick regarding the proposed High School District Tax Levy that will be discussed tonight at the D86 BOE meeting. With the threat of Senate Bill 16 looming, and the possible loss of millions of dollars in state funding, the upcoming tax levy votes at both District 181 and the high school district our schools feed into, D86, are critical to their long term financial well-being. Our communities cannot ignore the possible long term, negative impact on our districts' budgets should Senate Bill 16 pass AND should either district under-levy the full amount the Tax Cap Law allows districts to assess without going to referendum. We appreciate Mr. Wick's comment and urge you all to read it, after which we have added our "D181 Reflections."

Mr. Wick's Comment:
"I don't know how many folks that follow this blog also care about the operation of our associated high school, D86, but anyone that understands what really precipitated the ugliness earlier this fall should be aware there are still extremists running that BOE.

There is a crucial BOE meeting TONIGHT, Monday November 17, 7:00PM in the Cafeteria of Hinsdale Central High School, 5500 S Grant Street.
The levy for the upcoming year will be voted on.
The district 86 new CFO has prepared a detailed yet understandable overview of the entire tax picture.
In that presentation it is abundantly clear using projection based on the negotiated contract, a very modest increase of 1.5% in 'purchased services' and ZERO growth in either supplies or capital expenses the MINIMUM levy should be increased by 1.86% 
Levy Info D86 |Bill Eagan CFO See page 17. 

The success of the development of commercial property near the intersection of Rt 83 and Plainfield Rd (which was done with a TIF district, also covered in the CFO's presentation ) means that residential property tax be will safely under the the Property Tax Cap if the D86 BOE decides to levy the full amount as recommended by their CFO -- D86 CFO Recommends Maximum Levy| Chicago Tribune November 7 2014

It is troubling (and undoubtedly the work of the Finance Cmt. headed by a known anti-tax activist on the BOE that touts his MBA) that the CFO's levy presentation includes scenarios that would leave the district severely underfunded. Further the potential impact of such insufficient levies on even home owners' with a Fair Market Value of $1M (which is rather uncommon in the district, but is in fact less than the value of aforementioned anti-tax extremist's home) would be about $40.00 per year , or the cost of two fewer carry-out coffee beverages per month...

Save our Schools -- Give radicals on the BOE a Gift Card! 

I have been involved in watching local governmental bodies try to make decisions about setting a fair levy for decades and this is one the clearest presentations I have ever come across.

The illustrations of how changes in assessment and the impact of TIF districts can result in temporarily elevated burden for individual home owners followed by potential reclamation of revenue is clearly shown.

I highly recommend folks review this info.


Our D181 Reflections:

Now that you have read Mr. Wick's comment, we wanted to add our D181 reflections.  We agree that the D86 CFO prepared an outstanding presentation on the tax levy proposals and explained the terminology, formulas used and sources of property tax dollars (new vs. existing construction).  After reviewing this proposal and comparing it to the one presented last week  at the November 10th D181 board meeting, (D181 Tax Levy Proposal), it should be clear to all our readers that if the D181 approves its proposed tax levy, it will be leaving $538,678 in new construction money on the table.  Slide 11 of the D86 presentation explains the importance of new construction money and why it was included in the Tax Cap formula.  

So we ask Dr. White and his administration to answer the following questions before the D181 Board votes to approve the tax levy at the December 8, 2014 Board Meeting:

1.  Why didn't the administration explain clearly to the D181 BOE at the 11/10/14 board meeting that the proposed levy will leave $538,678 in new construction money on the table?

2.  Why didn't the administration provide more than one scenario for the D181 BOE's consideration, including one in which the new construction money would be levied to the maximum amount allowed?

3.  Why didn't the administration provide long term projections for the D181 BOE's consideration that showed the impact on the budget over the next four years should the board under-levy AND should Senate Bill 16 be approved, stripping D181 of $1.65 million dollars in state funding? The combination of both actions would strip the district budget of nearly $2.2 million each year going forward!

4. Why didn't Board President Turek raise these questions and ask the administration to answer them? Doesn't he understand the tax cap law? Doesn't he understand the long term effect of under-levying?  Doesn't he understand the long term  negative impact on D181 should Senate Bill 16 be approved? Or is Mr. Turek simply trying to get in the good graces of the Citizens for Clarendon Hills PAC that supported Mr. Corcoran, Mr. Cassini and Ms. Manley in the last D86 election -- a group that is anti-tax and has pushed for and supported the D86 board majority's efforts to under-levy? Remember, last year, the D86 BOE approved a flat -- zero percent increase-- levy.  Last year, Mr. Corcoran, a member of the Citizens for Clarendon Hills PAC, and a second member of that group, both attended the December 9, 2013 BOE meeting at which the BOE approved this year's tax levy.  Both gentlemen advocated for the D181 BOE to approve a flat levy.  (Source: D181 12/9/13 Podcast -- comments begin at 15:22.) The D181 BOE failed to pass a flat levy last year.  Is Mr. Turek now supporting an under-levy by D181 for next year in order to ensure the Citizens for Clarendon Hills PAC's support and votes should he decide to run for re-election next Spring?   

There is still one more D181 board meeting scheduled before the 12/8 meeting at which the board will vote on the tax levy.  The next meeting will be held on Monday, November 24 at 7 p.m. at Elm School. Hopefully one or more board members will insist that Mr. Turek put the proposed levy back on the agenda for further clarification and board discussion.  Our students' future educational programs, class sizes and capital improvements may all be jeopardized if the BOE under-levies and Senate Bill 16 is approved.  If Mr. Turek is unwilling to be fully transparent about the impact of what he is about to approve, another board member needs to demand full disclosure and discussion of this important issue.

Let's see if anyone on the BOE does the right thing.....


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head bloggers!

Anonymous said...

Why is D181 having their important tax levy boe meeting over thanksgiving break on a day when there is no school and many people are out of town? D86 had their meeting yesterday. D181 should follow suit and amend the meeting calendar for next year.

jay_wick said...

While it is may in fact be the case that the "driving force" behind Marty Turek's lack of logic in seeking an insufficient levy is to curry favor with radicals behind splinter groups like C4CH the end result of such backing is problematic.

The key financial backer of the C4CH is none other than the mastermind behind the failed strategy of attempting to force cessation of school / possible replacement of certified staff at the D86 high schools. Only by replacing the radical negotiating team of Skoda & Corcoran with the the more reality based Planson & Cassini was the contract settled. Had Skoda & Corcoran remained as the strident voice of "arbitrary limits" I have no doubt that we would not be celebrating the successes of Hinsdsle South & Central but lamenting a wasted season of fall sports and off-track academics.

If Marty Turek sides with such unsupportable "planning" he is clearly NOT looking out for the broad long-term interests of students, parents or community members who will see schools decline if artificial financial hardships result in classroom cuts.

The fact is financial decisions must be based on the known facts -- the majority of district spending is based on the newly negoiated contract with the teachers. If the levy is does not capture enough revenue to cover that contract then there will be cuts in the district budget. This is indisputable!

Further, if the growth in taxable value comes primarily from new construction, as has been the case for many many years in the district, there is no negative impact for existing home owners -- essentially the decision to "under levy" gives new construction an unwarranted "free ride". This is especially bizarre as often the purchasers of new construction are coming here specifically becuase of the history of high quality schools.

The utter ridiculousness of not just allowing the most well-off to not shoulder their fair share of tax burden AND potentially have schools less good than those of prior generations highlights the extreme foolishness of the anti-tax radicals.

At this point in most one-in-one conversations that I strike-up with neighbors / concerned community members the discourse often shifts to "but so many teachers make so much more here than elsewhere". This is not really an appropriate topic in the context of the LEVY -- if folks really feel that way they should have communicated ways to reduce compensation to Mr. Clarin & Ms, Vorobiev when they headed-up the contract negioating team. Of course one might question why two of the least experinced BOE members were tasked with this important role. I suppose that Ms. Vorobiev's credentials as attorney / Mr. Clarin's background as a business owner give them some context for working out labor issues, however the district specifically touted the non-confrontational type of negotiating they engaged in and that seems to have resulted in a quieter resolution than prior years....

Truth be told I do not relish having a high tax bill. I did however specifically choose a home that I felt I could afford and I would urge all community members to similarly pay attention to the tax burden in the district relative to other areas. I also know from personal experince that the various tax mitigation programs offered to senior citizens are, at best, weak.

Clearly Illinios has all kinds of issues with taxes but arbitrarily picking a number that forces the distict to engage in cutting programs or spending reserves only makes our district more vulnerable to the vagaries and hostile actions that downstate and urban lawmakers often target at the more high-performing schools.

The thought that any member of the BOE would care more about the "approval" of radical anti-tax forces than the best interst of our studens and schools in repugnant.

HMS Parent said...

8:32: Plain and simple -- lack of transparency and open governance. Better for Turek to keep everything on the down low and out of the public eye. With at least 2 anti-tax delegates on the D181 Caucus Committee, it will be quite interesting to see if the caucus endorses Mr. Turek once the names of the candidates are announced in the next month. Remember, he wasn't endorsed last time, and I can't believe they would be so stupid as to endorse him this time around, but you never know, especially if the Citizens for Clarendon Hills PAC has infiltrated the Hinsdale D181 Caucus committee.

Anonymous said...

10:34: Word on the street is that there are at least 2 Corcoran cronies on the D181 caucus committee.

Anonymous said...

Caucus nominations are posted in the online doings. Turek was nominated.

Anonymous said...

The Doings online has listed the D181 caucus slate.

Marty Turek was nominated along with Jennifer Burns, Rich Giltner and Leslie Gray.

Anonymous said...

It will be disappointing if Marty Turek is endorsed. Having attended meetings in the past, the lack of knowledge and misguided comments make you wonder why he is on a school board. A school board should not be used as a stepping stone into politics. If the schools are the attraction to move into this community for young families, why would the caucus not nominate individuals who care about our schools and children and who are willing to ask the tough questions. We are done with the schuster era and we need to get a board that likes to have conversation among themselves and with the community. The administration does not care and only wants to do what they want.

Anonymous said...

2:41 I have to agree with you. It is very disappointing that the caucus has chosen to support someone like Marty Turek. Thank goodness Leslie Gray and Jennifer Burns have been nominated. Yeah, you would think that the caucus would endorse more candidates who care about the schools and students. They clearly haven't been attending or listening to board meetings.

Marty Turek wants to go into politics? Seriously? That's hysterical.

Anonymous said...

We all need to campaign for Leslie and Jennifer. For 3 years they have shown themselves to be committed to the students in our district. They care about all students and have sacrificed time with their own families over and over again to learn about the issues and be a voice when no one else cared enough to do so - even the majority on our BOE, half of whom can't even intelligently and factually discuss the curriculum and learning issues facing our district today. Don't believe me, just use this blog to come up with a few questions to ask them. You will be met with blank stares, blind faith in the administration or a dismissive "no one cares about these issues except a small group of parents." I hope the new board is able to work with the administration AND hold them accountable for their performance and our childrens' educations. f they don't why do we even have a BOE?