A typical Evanston homeowner could end up paying as much as $400 a year more in property taxes under tax referendum proposals to be considered by the School District 65 finance committee tonight.
The board members will discuss a variety of scenarios for referenda to either raise operating funds to close projected deficits, build a new school or do both.
And, even with the biggest proposed hike in taxes to operate existing facilities — $6 million — the proposals would still leave a projected $1.7 million budget deficit by school year 2015-16, down from a projected $8.7 million if nothing is done.
The district’s chief financial officer, Mary Brown, has prepared a series of scenarios for board members to consider:
- Additional operating tax levies for existing schools of $3 million, $4 million or $6 million.
- Additional operating funds for a proposed new school of $1.6 million, $2 million or $2.5 million.
- Building a new school and carrying out other capital improvement projects at a previously projected cost of $48.2 million.
She also calculated the property tax impact of the scenarios on owners of homes valued at various price points.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the median market price of an Evanston home at $367,000. Under Brown’s projections, hat typical homeowner would face a tax increase of slightly over $400 a year if voters approved raising $6 million in operating funds for existing schools, $2.5 million to operate the new school and $48.2 million and bonds to build the new school and complete the other capital improvement projects.
The owner of a median priced home in Evanston now pays over $3,000 a year in property taxes to District 65, so the potential increase would be as much as 13 percent.
The finance committee meets at 6 p.m. at the district administration building, 1500 McDaniel Ave.
Another day another tax increase
Another day in Evanston and talk of yet another increase in taxes. This is so disheartening and infuriating. We work hard to get ahead in tough economic times and here comes the government to take more of our money. It would be so nice if we had a city government made up of people who weren't beholden to small, loud minorities and would make the necessary across the board cuts. A fantasy. I know.
It has been fascinating to watch this debate play out on Evanston's public cable TV station, which is providing an invaluable service to taxpayers by greatly expanding the number of people who can follow the debate about a new school and expansion and improvements to existing schools.
It will be equally fascinating to watch the D65 Board make a case to Evanston taxpayers that in the teeth of the worst economic times any of us have seen in our lifetimes, that we should cast a vote in favor of higher taxes. It must be galling to know that the City of Evanston beat them to it, without the messiness of a referendum.
One strategy that might work is to pay close attention to the recommendations of the citizens committee that has offered many well-considered suggestions for reducing the D65 budget. I suspect voters would be inclined to listen to the case for new and improved schools if they saw serious and successful effort by D65 to reduce costs.
List of how money is being used
To have any chance of passing any chance of passing a tax increasing referendum the school board needs to do something wild and crazy. They need to come clean with Evanston taxpayers. They need to provide a list of what the money is being spent on. The list would contain salary of each employee and what that employee does, including which subjects they teach. Also the list would contain subjects being taught, how many students taking that subject, and how much it cost to teach that class. A list of field trips and the costs associated. A list of students (not names) that live outside the district and that amount they pay to go to our schools.
To ensure that taxpayers money is being spent correctly, the school board should let us know that student records are correct by running student social security numbers and names are checked through E-Verify. If student is not a US citizen their corresponding ID number should be checked through the responsible government agency.
With this type of information, taxpayers may be able to offer some solid suggestions on how to cut costs.
There is a technique called Value Analysis where the various functions of an entity, say D65, are rank ordered according to their importance. The costs associated with each function are allocated. You set a target budget and start chopping from the bottom until you meet the budget.
BTW given the D65 budget, what is the annual per pupil cost?
D65 Cost per pupil
According to D65 numbers, the cost per student in Fiscal 2012 is $15,586.
This is using $104,026,447 for Total Operating Funds Expenditures and 6,674 students.
All this data was from documents from Board presentations and from D65 website.
And remember, this doesn't include money from Foundation 65, PTAs, student fees, depreciation from Capital Improvement Fund or Technology Fund and the full cost of a teacher's pension.(School districts only contribute 0.58%, teachers over 9%, and the State of Illinois-when they give the money- the rest)
Point being, the Total, ALL IN cost per student is understated at $15,586.
Not sure how this number compares with surrounding school districts, the State of Illinois, and the country, but it seems like a lot of money.
Stop the insanity
As a former member of the middle class, I find that it is devasting in these times that the only talk is raising taxes again. Most everyone I know is past the breaking point with new taxes–who knows what will come next?
Democrat Liberal Land.
What happened to all of those
What happened to all of those TIFs that were supposed to start retiring and flooding the schools with moola?
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