Volunteers with the Citizens Committee for Education delivered yard signs Saturday morning in support of the campaign for a tax hike to maintain the current level of school services in Mount Prospect Elementary District 57.
About 25 people delivered 500 signs to residents who had requested them and another 500 signs are on order, said John Krupa, chairman of the committee. About 200 people have volunteered to help with the campaign, which also includes a phone bank, a door-to-door canvass and mailings.
Without a tax increase, the district will have to lay off 30 teachers and classes could have up to 40 students, Krupa said. Art and music programs would be cut.
"That's what's motivating everyone," said Krupa, who has a first-grader at Westbrook School and a 3-year-old daughter.
Voters will decide in a March 20 referendum whether to approve a 31 percent increase in the limiting rate to 3.60 percent from 2.75 percent of equalized assessed value. School officials said the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 would pay an extra $238 a year, or $153 with a homeowner exemption and $85 if the homeowner also has a senior exemption.
Proponents of the increase say the district receives $8,494 in property tax revenue for each student, compared to $15,681 in River Trails District 26. Even with the increase, the district would receive less per child than any of the five adjacent districts, they say.
District officials attribute the financial problems to 20 percent enrollment growth over the last 20 years, state and federal funding cuts, unfunded government mandates and a low commercial tax base compared to neighboring districts'.
It has been almost three decades since District 57 voters approved additional funding for education and facilities, officials said.