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Proviso Probe

Thursday, August 24, 2006

TAX, boom-bust cycle of school funding [D95]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Jessica Glowinski):
The Brookfield-LaGrange Park Schools District 95 board approved a tentative budget for the 2006-07 fiscal year at its meeting Aug. 10, one showing an overall fund balance of almost $500,000, thanks to a referendum passed this spring, after years of deficit spending.

Due to the referendum, which raised the district's education fund tax rate by 47 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value, projected revenues for next year are expected to increase by approximately $1 million, going from $8.2 million to $9.3 million. Expenditures are projected at about $8.8 million, similar to previous years. This puts the district in a much stronger financial situation than last year, when there was an overall budget deficit of more than $700,000.

This article seems to support the implicit point made by Nikita Johnson at Monday's District 209 meeting. The system we have for school funding assumes districts willing engage in deficit spending until a referendum is needed. The districts will be flush with money and purchase non-essential items after referenda and then tighten the belt until a new referendum is needed.

IMO, this is a shitty system. A better system would emphasize stability. The districts would have enough revenue to have a realistic chance of having a balanced budget. The non-essential expenses wouldn't be on a yo-yo cycle of when the district is flush and when it is scrimping.

I assume that part of the problem with districts not being able to keep their expenses constant is the failure of the federal government to control health care expenses. The districts can't have stability in cost from year-to-year if the health care costs are increasing much more than the rate of inflation.

Also, one should see the system for what it is. It increases the taxes paid by middle-class homeowners from year-to-year while the Republicans cut the taxes on the wealthiest Americans.


  • As a stylistic point, I would prefer journalists talk about tax increases as percentages.

    Approximately 1/3 of property taxes go to elementary schools. The elementary school district tax increase was X%.

    A person reading can sorta figure that her/his prop tax bill is going 1/3 of X% because of the referendum. This seems like an easier mental picture than remembers the EAV of the property and multiplying $0.47 after dividing by 100.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 11:28 AM, August 24, 2006  

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