The Batavia School District in 2007 presented a $75 million bond referendum to expand, renovate and upgrade the schools within the district for the taxpayers to approve. The literature supplied by the school board stated that they would sell bonds over a three-year period to ensure the lowest possible interest expense and bond and interest tax rate.
To encourage a positive vote, the board pledged “the total tax rate for Batavia Public Schools will be maintained at the 2006 tax year rate.” Only a change in assessment or net taxable value or increases by other taxing bodies would change the tax rate.
The district’s property tax rate in 2007 was 4.603317 percent with pensions adding another 0.096596 percent to the total property tax bill. Last year the district’s rate was 4.783671 percent an increase of more than 4 percent and the pensions increased by 20 percent to 0.119679 since the referendum was approved.
Recently, the board issued a statement that the new tax levy would increase by 4.9 percent, which is not exactly what the board promised in 2007. The board in 2007 stretched the truth because there is no breakdown of what part of the property tax applies to repayment of the bonds versus the operational costs.
One important area of the discussions from 2007 is that the board will ask the taxpayers to approve another referendum to increase the tax rate for their operational budget.
Let me be the first taxpayer to stop the Batavia school district from growing with the use of increased tax revenue without accountability. The pledge from 2007 was a shell game to justify their tax rate increase. The board must rethink any future referendum until they start to slow the growth pattern and start thinking of the taxpayer who supports the board.
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