Dear District 47 Families:
had been closely following recent legislation (Amendment 6 of Senate Bill 2073) approved in the Illinois House of Representatives on February 21, 2012, which, had it passed in the Senate and been signed by Governor Quinn, would have had a significant impact on our ability to provide high quality educational services for students for whom we are responsible. This is the third time in the past few weeks that this sort of law has been proposed. Based on that, there may be additional attempts in the future.
We wanted to make you aware of the potential impacts, as we see them in District 47, were this type of legislation to eventually become law.
Currently, local taxing authorities, such as District 47, are limited to increasing taxes by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is less. Simply stated, the Franks Amendment to Senate Bill 2073 would have capped the ability of local taxing bodies, such as District 47, to raise the tax rate when property values decline unless approved by voters. Effectively, the legislation would have capped the increase to 0%.
District 47 has lost over $8.6 million in revenue since the 2006-2007 school year with interest income down $2.3 million and State revenue down $6.3 million. New property, which adds to the district property tax revenue, is down from $54 million in the 2003 tax year to $7 million in the 2011 tax year. Since the current economic crisis began, our school district has managed its finances by cutting approximately $6.2 million in expenditures. By the end of the 2012-2013 school year, we will have:
- Eliminated 72.5 positions through attrition and layoffs
- Frozen salaries
- Eliminated or reduced benefits
- Restructured programs and contracts to secure savings
- Utilized $6 million in reserves to weather the loss of revenue in order to maintain our current level of programs and services
Should this type of proposed legislation eventually become law, we estimate given the current economic climate, that District 47 would have to initiate a discussion regarding the possibility of closing a school, significant staff layoffs thus further increasing class sizes and would consider a reduction in programs and services which have become part of District 47’s culture. Examples of these programs include but are not limited to Art, Music, Health, Clubs and Activities, Extended Curriculum, Reading Recovery, Band, etc.
As part of the community, we understand the property tax burden being placed upon everyone in a time of declining home values. However, we cannot pull back from investing in our children’s future. We believe that legislation such as Amendment 6 to SB 2073 damages the ability of local schools to provide quality education and would potentially be devastating to District 47’s students.
We encourage you to contact your state senator and state representative to discuss this. Local legislators include Representative Mike Tryon- firstname.lastname@example.org, Senator Pamela Althoff- Pamela@pamelaalthoff.net and Representative Kent Gaffney- email@example.com.
Donn P. Mendoza, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
School Board President