Friday, February 11, 2011

District 39 Tax Referendum: Good only for the Recession Unaffected

We won't be supporting the District 39 Referendum because of the economy. Perhaps the recession has treated you well at your house, but it has taken a toll at our house. Over the past few years our property taxes have doubled and enough is enough! The following letter came from friend:

"I'm always amused by the argument that increasing taxes for schools will support high housing values.(Wilmette Life, 2.10.11) Given our declining property values, I can see why that is an attractive argument. If that really is how the housing market works, why not double or triple the taxes! People fail to think about what happens to property values when property tax bills exceed annual mortgage payments. That's when housing prices will be "discount" in order to offset the tax burden faced by any purchasers. Who wants to further discount the price of their home in this depressed market? Not me. I'm not supporting District 39's referendum."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This argument misses a critical point, which is that an outstanding school system has a strong, positive impact on property prices. Of course, the converse is also true. No one is suggesting that property taxes on their own are good for property values. Rather, from a purely economic standpoint, this potential property tax increase needs to be evaluated based upon the impact on the school system to understand the corresponding impact on property values.

As we all know, housing prices are determined by supply and demand. The Village real estate market depends on a continual stream of new buyers, typically families with young children, purchasing area homes. Future buyers can choose from a range of towns on the North Shore that feed into New Trier. If Wilmette schools were to decline (e.g. as measured by test scores, student to teacher ratios, etc), then demand for Wilmette properties, and home prices, would be negatively affected. This is simple economics. Property prices might be further hurt by an increase in the supply of housing stock if current residents choose to leave the Village for neighboring towns with stronger elementary schools.

Clearly any tax increase during a very difficult economy is tough to swallow and I do not minimize the impact on Village residents. It may seem easy to say 'no' today, but do so only after considering the long term impact when you go to sell your home. Families with children that are looking to move to the North Shore will be far more concerned about declining schools than an incremental $500 or so in annual property taxes. These are the future buyers of our Wilmette properties and, with fewer of them, we will get less when we are ready to sell.

Leaving aside the importance of a stong public education system, there is clearly an economic decision to make. If you plan on moving from Wilmette in a year or two, then you may not be hurt since there will probably be a short lag until the schools (and property prices) are negatively impacted relative to surrounding towns. However, if you are not planning to sell for a number of years, then you should evaluate the impact of declining elementary schools in the Village on local real estate demand.

To start with, I'd suggest talking to local realtors who are dealing with buyers and sellers in the market every day. They have firsthand experience regarding buying decisions impacting demand for our homes. At the end of the day, no one likes taxes, but remember that this increase would contribute directly to enhancing a strategic local asset and the value is pumped back into our community.

Feb 16, 2011, 4:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any educated person can see that the school district needs this referendum, it is how schools are funded. D39 has cut everything but programing and teachers and that is already slated for next year.

The schools are in trouble but the teachers are receiving over 5% increases/year. They need to open their contract, help the tax payers and tehn we will "consider" a yes vote. Without the WEA giving up something, I vote NO!!

Feb 21, 2011, 12:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilmette has revenue limited by the CPI and teacher pay negotiated generously. the two lines separate. I do not think teachers will run to Winnetka for work. In fact a teacher may take less pay to work in a pleasant town like Wilmette.

Feb 22, 2011, 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our children should not be held hostage by the teachers' contract, nor should we mortgage the children's future by sacrificing our schools. The teacher's union is a huge problem in my view - most notably the antiquated tenure system and pensions. Sadly, the proposed cuts would eliminate some of the best young and energetic teachers while protecting those that are tenured.

This is a statewide (and national) issue and it is unfortunately unrealistic to think that this system will be changed before the referendum. I will grudgingly vote 'yes' because the damage that a 'no' vote will cause will hurt the schools (and property values as noted by "anonymous #1) for a decade or more.

Feb 23, 2011, 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger Publia said...

Anon #1--taxes increase while housing prices decline. Run that one through your economic model, because that is the situation. Run that one through your economic model.

Feb 24, 2011, 9:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Publia, the critical difference is that decreases in property values are cyclical and nationwide: in time, they will rebound. On the other hand, failure to pass this referendum will do permanent damage to our local property values. Our loss will be Winnetka, Glencoe, Northfield, and Kenilworth's gain.

This issue is not about greedy teachers, or pensions, or unions. Not at all. District 39 has been extremely responsible with our money, and continue to do more with less than the surrounding districts. If K-8 art, music, foreign language, library, and PE programs disappear-- and class sizes balloon to 30+ kids-- the prime factor that drives people to purchase homes in Wilmette will disappear. I'm not sure how anyone thinks that won't adversely affect property values. Thanks.

Feb 24, 2011, 3:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I see a statement like

"This issue is not about greedy teachers, or pensions, or unions"

it pretty much negates the rest of the conversation. D39, Wilmette, and the State of Illinois have put off the adult conversation about pensions long enough.

If we cannot face up to this now, when will we ever face up to our responsibilities?

Feb 26, 2011, 8:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I agree to pay more in taxes, I want to know what the teachers make, what the administrators make, and how much each contribute to their certainly generous benefits packages (i.e., do they contribute to their pensions, do they contribute to their insurance premiums, do they receive insurance after retirement?). It seems each time we agree to raise taxes the quality of education does not improve, while the increase in revenue only serves to make compensation packages more generous for school staff.

Without knowing more about staff packages, I am a "NO" on this referendum.

Feb 26, 2011, 9:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cuts that they are talking about seem pretty significant, I don't see how quality of schools does not suffer if the referendum does not pass.

All this argument about the teachers' contract is garbage. The schools already do a great job for less per student than surrounding schools.

Wilmette’s operating costs per pupil are the lowest of the six New Trier sender districts, at $13,060. The other sender districts range from $15,169 to $19,315 per pupil. Of the 15 nearby and comparable school districts, Wilmette’s operating costs are 13th out of 15.

You live in Wilmette and are going to begrudge a 5% raise for an elementary school teacher in the most efficient (per student) district in New Trier? Really?

Feb 28, 2011, 5:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have serious concerns about this referendum. It should be called a TAX INCREASE. It means more property taxes. How did District 39 get in this mess? Don't they budget several years in advance? My property taxes have gone up for the past 15 year so where is that new money? And by the way,,,I hate the term: "New Revenue" because that means more taxes. I support the schools but question more taxes...I will think about my vote for now.........

Feb 28, 2011, 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Average Illinois teacher salary is $58686 and is the 3 rd highest average in the country ( District 39 average teacher salary exceeds the state average by almost 20%($67,502). Wilmette teachers are well compensated. The time has come to hold the line on spending and rationalize every dollar spent. Wisconsin & Ohio teachers are being asked to contribute more to their retirement and health care costs. Tax receipts are not the problem expenses are. Now is not the time to give in to the WEA demands. Vote NO.

Mar 4, 2011, 1:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding teacher contracts, they are up for renegotiation in 2014. Fight that battle at that time. We, via our elected representatives, agreed to what they are making now and we should live up to our commitments. That said & having read the contract, I agree that it needs reform. For example: a 45 year old teacher coming into the system in 2008 could work for 10 years, receive a 5% raise per year for each of the 10 years . Thats 5 years of 5% per year pay equalization we gave them to compete with neighboring schools and 5 years of 5% per yearpre-retirement increase so they can feather their retirement nest). The teacher can then retire at age 55 with full pension after having taught 10 years. I am sorry, but that is unsustainable.

Mar 4, 2011, 2:58:00 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

How did we get in this mess? Ask the corrupt and incompetent politicians in Springfield who reneged on commitment to pay the school districts what they are supposed to get

Mar 6, 2011, 9:43:00 AM  
Blogger SchoolBoardLady said...

Today, the fact that Wilmette does not belong to the NSSED special education consortium is the only difference in quality between Wilmette and all the other New Trier feeder schools. This fact, and this fact only is what makes Wilmette more attractive to only buyers that have a child with special needs.

It would be very easy for the administration to provide an analysis of all professional employees to show the allocation of staff to special education. An analysis of space dedicated to providing special education services to non-district children (kindergarten and preK) should also be included.

Declining real estate values and a declining economy over the past five years after Wilmette completely redesigned the disrict (2002-2005) to provide comprehensive full inclusion of special education has resulted in a fiscal perfect storm. The huge impact of special education services on the fiscal health of the district can no longer be ignored. Let the taxpayers and regular education parents decide if Wilmette can afford to "go it alone" and not collaborate with other districts on the NorthShore to provide special needs children with needed services.

During the 2001-2005 period, over 40 employees with titles such as behavioral specialist, social worker, psychologist, speech therapist, reading specialist, and one-on-one aide were hired to provide the full range of special education services formerly provided on a tuition basis by NSSED. Assistant principal positions were instituted to provide the administrative personnel needed in the burgeoning number of IEP meetings. Outreach programs were begun to actively identify and recruit preK special education students into the district. A full audit of special education services is essential before a referendum can be justified.

Mar 7, 2011, 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Mar 7, 2011, 2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop the maddness - vote NO!

Mar 7, 2011, 2:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Wilmette and have two kids who went through the District 39 school system. My children are done with District 39 now, but I will proudly vote YES on the referendum because I believe kids currently in the system and those to come deserve the same quality education my kids received here.

District 39 is well managed. It has prudently cut spending to maintain programs, but it needs additional revenue to maintain the system we have now.

Vote YES on the April 5th District 39 referendum!

Mar 7, 2011, 5:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem here is that this is not a budget referendum, this is a permanent tax hike that will not go away and will increase your taxes as property values rebound. This tax hike is in addition to property tax increases that occur automatically each year (and shockingly do not decrease automatically when property values slide like that have the past 3 years). These automatic increase are imposed yearly at the rate of inflation or 5% whichever is less.

So it is a bit disingenuous to say that the district has not increased it funding since 1998 - it has and it does so each and every year.

Remember if the referendum passes, you can add 5.8% to each of these yearly increase (inflation or 5%) on a permanent basis.

Mar 8, 2011, 8:49:00 AM  
Blogger Publia said...

If my taxes doubled, didn't the amount that the schools got more-or-less double too? It was the most recent doubling that really hurt. My income didn't double, in fact it took a hit due to the economy.

Mar 9, 2011, 5:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not publish what teacher salaries are currently. Does Wilmette get what it is paying for? Consider the economic model which is higher state tax, gas prices through the ceiling, food prices escalating etc.. Be realistic housing prices are not going to fall as it is still the Northshore and it is location, location, location. A better choice is to eliminate the duplicate positions: For example why does a WJHS need two assistant principals? Cut the layers of management and then ask for more money. People need to be realistic.

Mar 11, 2011, 6:31:00 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I am tapped out on taxes. I cannot support a tax increase for District 39...If it were up to me, we would pay all the teachers a million dollars a year but the money is not here.......80% of the budget here is teacher compensation so something gotta give.....The wages, pensions, vacation, work rules, health care etc are too much, the tax payers just cannot afford it.......One study is any increase in property taxes lowers property values. Any tax increase will hurt this community in these economic times...........WE ARE TAPPED OUT AND CANNOT AFFORD ANY TAX INCREASE,,,,,,,,,,,,THE TAXES ARE TOO DAMN HIGH,,,,,THE TAXES ARE TOO DAMN HIGH,,,,THE TAXES ARE TOO DAMN HIGH,,,,,

Mar 14, 2011, 9:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In answer to someone's question, they DO budget out, and they knew when they signed the teacher contract that it would lead to this; they just didn't advertise the fact (because it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission).

And no, I don't begrudge the teachers (or anyone else) a five percent raise; problem is, this was a 30-percent raise over 5 years, a raise we could not afford, and they knew it.

And the fact that our teachers make slightly less than in other nearby communities, or that we get great results with fewer dollars than other communities, does not strike me as a problem to be solved; it's a good thing, and we should not be looking for ways to "correct" it without a very good reason. Is it hard to hang onto teachers? Everything I see says no.

Finally, believing how dire the results of a "no" will be (cut programs, etc.) depends on trusting the very people who got us here. I would wager a limb that they will not cancel all foreign language, or all music.

Mar 16, 2011, 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand and appreciate the difficulty of coughing up extra taxes when the economy is doing so poorly.

However, if they do cut foreign language programs at school, those of us Wilmette residents who are rich will not care because they will always be able to hire a private tutor.

The very people who think they cannot afford the extra taxes will be faced with a stark choice - pay even more money to private tutors for foreign language instruction, or virtually ensure their children speak no foreign language - definitely a bad idea in the long term, given how globalized the world has become

One commenter justified her reluctance to vote yes by wagering a limb that they will not cut all music or foreign language instruction. Do not try to have your cake and eat it, too. If you don't care about your kids learning a foreign language in school, then vote no. If you do, do not wager limbs, vote yes.

Mar 16, 2011, 10:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have lived in Wilmette for 26 years and went through a tax increase a few years back for District 37, right when the housing market really began to collapse! I voted yes. The economy has changes so much since then. So much has become so apparent since. Local municipalities and the states have to pay for and cover contracts for pensions and so on. I say teachers retire at age 65!!! not age 50!! and pay into the system for more health care and so on. Just like any other person.... enough is enough NO TAX INCREASE. Not having the increase will not devalue our properties higher taxes WILL!! Enough we all have to make sacrifices!!! So a bigger class size. Everyone is spoiled and not willing to give it up when necessary. Our children if PARENTS were more INVOLVED, would not loose out. I honestly think that if the adults did not want so much or if they did not over extend themselves in the first place because of their (LIFESTYLE), and a parent was still home at least part time with the kids we would not be where we are now!!!! Face reality. HOW MUCH MORE CAN TAXPAYERS AFFORD!!
Thank you

Mar 17, 2011, 3:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it not true that most newcomers with young children choose Wilmette because it is the New Trier sender district with the most affordable real estate? Hence the moniker "Back Door to the North Shore". Wouldn't most of us have chosen to move to Kenilworth or Winnetka or Glencoe if we'd had the wherwithal to do so (i.e. not have had to buy a hovel for the same price as a decent house in Wilmette)?

I'm not saying I don't like Wilmette -- I do -- but I think all the talk about great test scores is a red herring. People with young kids buy into Wilmette because of New Trier; the good test scores in District 39 are largely a function of the relative affluence (and attendant socioeconomic advantages) that can afford the real estate here.

There are a number of assumptions underlying the arguments in favor of the referendum that deserve to be unpacked and scrutinized, among which are the following: a failure of the referendum would lead to the program reductions threatened by the district, that those reductions, if made, would significantly affect the quality of the education offered by the district, that those reductions, if made, would affect test scores, and that any consequent reduction in test scores would send property values in Wilmette plummeting. A more global assumption at work here is that, in general, schools that are anything more than utilitarian in nature and quality make a significant difference in educational and life outcomes for children from relatively affluent households.

I may tackle those in a subsequent post but I want to address a couple of lesser points about the upcoming referendum.

Mar 20, 2011, 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I have some gripes with the way the politicking for the referendum has been done. Can anyone tell me who "Citizens for Wilmette Schools" is and who is funding their production and distribution of professional-looking videos and flyers in favor of the referendum? I assume it is the teachers' union. I am not a union-basher, but as a resident, taxpayer and parent of District 39, I don't believe the union's interests are necessarily aligned with those of our community and I resent its promiscuous meddling in what should be a debate for Wilmettians to hash out for ourselves.

As well, I understand that at least one District 39 principal has been all-but-explicitly campaigning on behalf of the referendum in official school newsletters e-mailed to parents. I understand that those involved with the district's schools feel strongly about the referendum and very much favor an affirmative outcome, but school administrators need to be more scrupulous in observing the boundaries that separate their official duties (which do not, I'm sure, include politicking) from their prerogative to have and express political opinions. To me, it's a question of propriety and professionalism.

Second, I've read a lot over the past weeks about the supposed "efficiency" of District 39 schools as measured by the district's expenditures per pupil, which are said to be less than those of other New Trier sender districts. Am I wrong, or is expenditure per pupil merely a function of the general affluence of a school district rather than how much "value" the district is providing? In looking at the state report cards for some of the New Trier sender districts, it appears to be so. Winnetka and Avoca spend much more money per student because there's so much more money to spend -- the assessed value of the real estate in those districts is vastly greater on a per student basis than in District 39. Because those districts are richer, of course they'll spend more per student, even if the marginal impact of that additional expenditure is extremely low, in the same way as residents of those districts probably spend way more on fancy new cars as we poor folk in Wilmette, even though our garden-variety sedans are just as good as getting us to the Whole Foods as their luxury cars. Isn't District 39 really congratulating itself for getting around the block as well in an ordinary car as other do in a Maybach?

Mar 20, 2011, 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those interested in teacher and admin compensation for district 39 circa 2010, here is an incomplete list - the rest can be found at

Taylor, Kristina $64,637
Anderson, Cynthia $45,673
Andrews, Joshua $90,066
Atwater, Debra $77,502
Ballard, Patricia $67,225
Bankes, Jasmin $45,312
Barker, Brittany $39,429
Barthelmess, Diana $58,385
Bartsch, Rebecca $49,073
Bassett, Anne $49,455
Belconis, Margaret $68,312
Bennett, Tiffany $56,449
Bergmann, Constance $58,415
Berngard, Jaime $51,211
Beyers, Deborah $87,387
Bialk, Lynn $94,508
Biggs, Melanie $52,665
Binder, Stacey $72,813
Black, Cassandra $85,264
Blim, Robert $112,727
Bocinsky, Lynn $66,854
Boeckman, Stephen $54,650
Borelli, Cara $46,236
Bourisaw, Camille $95,699
Boutin, Kelly $59,358
Bowers, Anne $82,959
Bowman, Jessica $51,307
Brandeisky, Kathleen $82,092
Brenner, Elizabeth $28,119
Brighty, Erin $57,090
Brown, Kristen $67,560
Brown, Monica $62,363
Bruno, Barbara $51,067
Bryant, Karen $101,384
Bueche, Michelle $48,303
Burke, Beth $60,868
Butz, Bradley $99,770
Capsuto, Sandra $107,075
Cartwright, Heather $54,484
Cedoz, Kathy $109,059
Chung, Cristina $68,099
Churchill, Kaleen $56,879
Clark, Deborah $62,194
Clark, Lynn $109,347
Clauson, Margaret $185,430
Clauss, Taylor $46,042
Cloutier, Jodi $67,393
Cohen, Allison $36,494
Collins, Maria $80,810
Cooper, Debra $125,037
Cornyn, Elissa $31,038
Courtois, Katherine $54,213
Crowley, Deborah $92,372
Cummings, Katherine $36,747
Cummins, Jennifer $54,976
Cummo, Beth $75,554
Davis, Catherine $62,449
Davis, Corey $26,877
Day, Brenda $69,272
De St. Aubin, Michele $99,683
Deahl, Pamela $78,075
DeCristofaro, Ramona $67,828
Denenberg, Adam $119,271
Dietrich, Betty $79,101
Dix, Kathleen $66,202
Dobson, Teresa $58,031
Dolkart, Jane $91,649
Dougherty, Cynthia $59,250
Drasler, Laura $57,090
Dubnow, Aaron $46,281
Dufek, Ann $72,969
Eakley, Alison $50,673
Eilering, Sarah $53,413
Elman, Marc $65,747
Engstrom, Francina $34,231
Erickson, Jennifer $49,689
Evans, Jamie $70,409
Fabianowicz, Katie $50,932
Fall, Jennifer $76,638
Farrell, Adrienne $52,281
Ferris, Julia $96,054
Fessler, Dawn $71,289
Fisher, Amanda $53,344
Fisher, Sara $61,573
Fisk, Laura $56,137
Fisk, Virginia $65,831
Flachsbart, Susan $61,469
Flanagan, Nicole $49,694
Flanigan, Mary $71,832
Fleming, Una $64,771
Flemming, Catherine $111,609
Flintz, Joanna $73,986
Flondro, Jennifer $62,503
Folkrod, Brooke $46,002
Forsyth, Katy $70,166
Fortier, Leah $63,563
Fowler, Hillary $64,567
Fowler, Todd $53,521
Fox, Katryn $82,117
Freed, Stephanie $46,597
Freese, Amy $69,997
Fritz, Carol $96,467
Frost, Alene $72,645
Galligan, Steven $124,002
Gannon, Millie $53,212
Garcia, Linda $103,932
Garland, Annalee $37,987
Garry, Julie $75,282
Gavin, Alison $55,276
Gayle, Suzanne $63,805
Gentry, Lori $57,212
Gerber, Rachel $61,106
Giardina, Teresa $50,115
Gierke, Jeanne $33,790
Ginsburg, Aleece $100,350
Glaaser, Catherine $57,202
Glowacki, Heather $121,659
Goberville, Jaime $51,261
Godsell, Wendy $53,319
Gontovnick, Jill $67,970
Gradman, Myrna $103,608
Grand, Nancy $92,999
Green, Pamela $102,719
Greer, Deborah $63,541
Grimes, Jr., James $50,326
Grishaber, Susan $101,798
Gross-Palzet, David $147,861
Guili, Laura $47,291
Gunderson, Dana $53,595
Gustafson, Nancy $79,787

Mar 23, 2011, 9:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it irks me that the WEA wont come to the table to renegotiate the teacher's contract, I think we need to put it in some perspective. The teachers raises in the the last two years of their contract only account for 20% of the D39 shortfall. Even if the teachers agreed to take 0% raises over the next two years, D39 would still have to make drastic program cuts. That battle needs to be fought in two years when their contract is up for renegotiation. At that point I am certain they will not have the unbridled support of the parents as they did in 2008. Right now the WEA is doing a huge dis-service to their members. Something that they will regret in two years!

Right now, however, we need to make the rationale decision based on what is better for the value of our homes. Home purchases in Wilmette have fallen off a cliff in the last few months. Nobody is buying homes in Wilmette as they wait to see what the Referendum outcome will be. To me the decision rides on a simple question of which outcome is the greater you believe that someone buying your home will be more put off by $800 more in taxes or by the fact that the school district just laid off 25% of its teachers, has twice the #kids per class as surrounding areas, and has no foreign language?

Paying higher taxes right now is highly unpleasant, but the resulting devaluation of your house will far outstrip that.

Just food for thought...

Mar 24, 2011, 9:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To clarify...

For the post asking..."Can anyone tell me who "Citizens for Wilmette Schools" is and who is funding their production and distribution of professional-looking videos and flyers in favor of the referendum? I assume it is the teachers' union."

I can tell you its not the teacher's union. Its current and past D39 parents giving of their own time and savings because of how important this is to them.

Thanks, just needed to clarify that.

Mar 24, 2011, 9:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now I'm regretting our recent home purchase in Wilmette, even though we love our home and community. We looked at many towns - all driven by the schools - and if I were looking right now, Wilmette would be crossed of my list faster than you can say "gone." I don't need/want to wait for test scores. Even if test scores stay the same, I want my child to have sports, art, language and all the other elements that will contribute to the fullness of their education and abilities. That is why I moved here.

Yes, taxes are high, as with so many other comparable towns in IL. These towns have one thing in common and it's not the lake or city proximity, architecture or downtown. It is the quality of the school systems. So why would anyone want to pay comparable taxes to other NT feeder school districts, yet only receive a portion of what everyone else is receiving. Would you pay the same for a car as your neighbor, only to realize your's has no radio, AC, no spare tire, etc?

NT is challenging enough, sending your children without the educational advantages as others will be a even larger hurdle for them. If you are considering living in a NT school district, taxes of 500-1200 more are really insignificant compared to what your children will loose from the budget cuts. This is not to belittle the $. No one wants to pay more taxes and or enable wasteful spending, but this is a necessary expense to maintain the quality education we all choose Wilmette for and maintain our home values.

To those who are against the referendum because they already pay for private school or have no children attending school, or just don't want to spend $, I have news for you....If you think your home values will not be effected, you are mistaken. This is biteing off your nose to spite your face.

We relocated from an affluent east coast town very much like Wilmette in many ways 2 years ago. The town was so popular. Beautiful, on the water, the same distance into the city. Great schools. AAA bond rating. Fiscally responsible town. Then the perfect storm...First a 2008 tax increase (which passed with no issues) to round out the operations of the new elementary school (we had a significant enrollment increase as well which necessitated a new school)

Then the state significantly cut school contributions, tax bills were less as everyone was getting adjustments and home sales were at a halt. The second request did not pass...people just couldn't or wouldn't spend any more on taxes. The same cuts we are facing were eliminated from school, including elementary and JR. High sports.

People cannot flee that town fast enough... or would if they could even sell their homes. One of my friends is a Real Estate agent there, and her stories are eye opening. And it's way more than the effects of a recession, or job losses. The number of homes on the market is incredible and climbing everyday, with the most noticeable jump after the failed referendum. And home values/prices are down significantly more than comparable neighboring towns still offering full school services. The reality is not pretty and not something I imagine anyone would want for their town, children or home values.

Lastly, we currently know 3 families from the City looking at towns on the NS to buy a home. They're already expecting high taxes in whatever town they consider, but the schools are the justification. Only one family is still considering Wilmette. WHY? Their theory is that home prices will drop even lower when people stop buying in Wilmette if the referendum fails, and that when people realize the grievous error, and vote to reinstate the programs, they will have come out even further ahead.

I understand that times are challenging...we are going through it too...but to me this is the equivalent of driving to all the grocery stores to save on coupons and find that you spent more in time and gas than you saved. I urge you all, please look at the big picture and Vote YES.

Apr 1, 2011, 5:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The referendum is a necessity at this point in the game. The woulda, shoulda, coulda stuff about the teacher's union is a red herring.

A few points to consider:
1) The issues driving 80% of costs are really required changes in student services. Special Ed, etc, drives costs up in a big way, but more individualized help is what's required to help children with learning disabilities.
2)The things on the table to be cut are important. Art, Science and Music all matter, and classroom sizes matter tremendously. I used to be a teacher and the impact of a few extra kids in a classroom can be the difference between success and failure.
3) the idea that the State is going to kick more money into Distric 39 is absurd. Are the very conservative posters asking for big government to bail out Wilmette?

Apr 1, 2011, 10:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Key part of the last post:

"I used to be a teacher"

I wonder if that poster ever saw a school tax referendum that they didn't like?

Apr 3, 2011, 10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like the comment about teacher's contracts that have to be revisited in 2014.

what turkey negotiated such a bad contract in the first place??

Apr 6, 2011, 11:59:00 PM  

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