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updated: 12/9/2013 10:44 PM

Kaneland asking for 4.6 percent more in property taxes

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Kaneland school board member Tony Valente asked the school board president to resign Monday night for not running a meeting correctly under Roberts' Rules of Order, in his opinion. That came after President Cheryl Krauspe had gaveled him down for insulting a fellow board member.

It was one of the hotter moments between Valente and the rest of the board. They included him predicting at the outset of a property tax levy hearing at the beginning of the meeting that he would be "attacked" by the rest of the board because he didn't want to raise property taxes. He also said that there was "administrative malpractice;" called Superintendent Jeff Schuler a "carpetbagger" because he doesn't live in the district; said there may have been administrative retaliation against one of his children because of what he says and how he votes; and commented to board member Teresa Witt, after she accused him of continually bringing up his experiences as a professional educator, "if you even have a job."

"It's got to stop. You have a personal axe to grind and we are sick of it!" exclaimed board member Teresa Witt, calling Valente a bully. She said he interrupts other board members and presenters, but becomes upset when others interrupt him.

When Valente protested that, board president Krauspe brought down the gavel, telling Valente "that's two. You are out of here on three."

Valente was principal of Kaneland High School; he is now principal of Proviso East High School in Maywood.

And a board member.

Actual business

The Kaneland school board Monday decided to ask for 4.58 percent more in property taxes to be collected next spring, over the objections of board members Valente and Pedro Rivas, and despite the pleas of a half-dozen residents.

"It is tantamount to legalized larceny, because we have no way out," said Nancy Schnaitman of Elburn: She doesn't want to move out of the house she has lived in for 37 years, and if she doesn't pay her property taxes she may have to.

The district is requesting $52.2 million. Of that, almost $9.9 million would be used to repay debt. The rest would be for operating expenses.

The total request is $2.3 million more than the district received in taxes this year. But the state's property tax-cap law will limit the increases in some of the operating funds' levies to 1.7 percent on land other than new construction. Taxing bodies typically ask for more than they know they can get, to capture every dollar available through the addition of new construction and possible increases in the value of property. The district expects that the equalized assessed value of property may end up decreasing by 6.6 percent.

One of those funds hitting the maximum rate is the education fund, which pays for most of the salaries, services and materials to educate students. The district's assistant superintendent for business estimates that due to a decrease in the district's value, it will receive about $2 million less in that fund. So the district is asking for more in several other funds, including the special education fund and the transportation fund. Money could then be transferred out of those funds to the education fund, which Valente disagrees with. He likened it to "robbing Peter to pay Paul" and to a "back-door-ish" referendum, raising taxes beyond legal limiting rates without getting voters' permission.

The amount collected for debt is not subject to the tax cap. The Kane and DeKalb counties' clerks determine how much is needed to make the obligated payments each year.

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