To the Editor:
The Northwest Herald took a poll on its website, and 85 percent of the responders said they were opposed to the property tax hike that the Community High School District 155 Board approved. While listening to the residents voicing their concerns, I found it ironic listening to state Rep. Allen Skillicorn voice his objections, because it is our state lawmakers who are the root cause of our property taxes being so high.
By my calculations, the latest funding plan is to give District 155 and Crystal Lake School District 47 about another $800,000. This is not even close to the $55 million that our schools should be getting, as per the Illinois Constitution. Article X says “the state has the primary responsibility for funding the system of public education.” There are many reasons for this.
If you look at the 2016 financial reports, you will see that District 155 and District 47 spent about $150 million on 13,000 students. Based on the state constitution, our schools should have received
$75 million from the state. The financial report shows that the schools received less than $20 million. If we received our fair share of funding, our property taxes would be about 30 percent lower.
Other districts are getting their money. District 89 in Maywood spent about
$50 million on its students and received $34 million from the state. We received less than $20 million on expenditures of $150 million. Maywood probably needs every penny that it received from the state because of its low property values. But we also need our fair share. We should not have to rely on property taxes to be the major funder of education.
This is why we need everyone – including our school boards, superintendents, county boards, city councils, teachers unions and any other agency that relies on property taxes for funding – to put more pressure on our state representatives and senators to get this funding formula corrected after studying the issue for more than 20 years.