On Nov. 14 about 20 residents, myself included, attended High School District 211's board of education meeting to support the board adhering to its own fund balance policy. That policy calls for the district to maintain an operational fund balance of one-third the next year's budgeted expenditures.
However, since 2005 the board majority has ignored that policy to amass a fund balance of over $166 million, more than twice its policy level, due mostly to a fear of "losing money" it feels it is entitled to.
As stated in District 211's "Proposed 2013 Tax Levy" statement dated November 14, 2013: "Anytime that a tax levy amount is less than the allowable limitation, the District loses that same amount every year going forward." Now, flip that statement around to the taxpayer perspective and you will get "Anytime the tax levy amount is more than the necessary amount, the taxpayers lose the same amount compounded every year going forward."
Kudos to board members Anna Klimkowicz and Mike Scharringhausen for supporting their board's own fund balance policy. Shame on the rest of the board for blindly ignoring their own policy and simply taxing the maximum for fear of "losing money."
The issue all comes down to what is most important. Is it more important the school district not "lose money" it feels it is entitled to, or a senior citizen not "lose their home" due to prohibitive property tax increases or perhaps a young family not "lose the opportunity" to live in the area once the property tax burden is factored into their mortgage costs?
On Dec. 12 the District 211 Board of Education will tell us what it feels is most important when they vote on their levy.