District must curtail spending

Posted7/9/2018 1:00 AM

Community Unit School District 200 had a failed $132 million referendum in 2017. People might have said OK if they thought it was being spent well, not for raises for the already overpaid staff. So, the first big spending approved -- new contracts for teachers (2.5 percent for all) and administrators (2 percent) and the communications director (almost 10 percent) and other staff.

Estimated cost $13 million over four years. The superintendent was given a new four-year contract with increased pay and benefits in December 2017.

Next up, they plan to skip the legally required referendum for a new pre-K building ($18 million) then when the "unforeseen" happens and they can't afford everything ... a "backdoor referendum" to borrow millions more without asking the taxpayers.

The bond portion (approximately 10 percent) of the Dist. 200 portion of the property tax was scheduled to be paid off in 2024. But recently, the district refunded some bonds to avoid a schedule spike in payments and pushed the all-paid date out to 2026.

My prediction is that they will borrow millions more to cover their recent spending and push the all-paid date out further.

As board member, Jim Mahieson explained, at the Feb 12, 2014, Dist. 200 board meeting. "Basically there are two components … to the tax levy … One is operating money and the other is capital money or debt money … The operating money can only go up with CPI … very limited. The debt fund or the bond resource payment … there is technically no limit because that is determined when bond referendums are issued."

Jan Shaw


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