VOTE NO FOR THE D41 REFERNDUM AND WE CAN STILL ELIMINATE THE PORTABLES AT HADLEY, AND ADDRESS THE CAPITAL PROJECTS SENSIBLY.
WHAT YOU CAN DO IS VOTE NO for the referendum, and then attend the April 10th D41 Board meeting, and demand the board take the following actions:
- The D41 $24M Referendum, costing the taxpayer over $41M, is not a "Tax Decrease Referendum."
D41 and its board members are marketing the referendum as a "Tax Decrease Referendum." They are taking advantage of the community's lack of understanding of how tax requests work to make this false claim. The $24M referendum will cost the tax payer of D41 over $41M, so ask yourself if it really makes sense that repaying over $41M, can actually lead to a tax decrease. Has your D41 tax bill actually ever decreased? NOTE: BY THE WAY, D41 HAS ALREADY SPENT OVER 100,000,000 ON FACILITES OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS ON 5 BUILDINGS, AND ENROLLMENT HAS BEEN FLAT AND PROJECTED TO REMAIN FLAT. IF THIS REFERENDUM PASSES THEY WILL BE SPENDING OVER $150,000,000 ON FACILITIES. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
- District has $15M in reserves that could fund the $9.7M required to eliminate portables at Hadley.
Eliminating the portables at Hadley and replacing them with brick and mortar, costs $9.7M. The District has built its reserves to $15M. The district should use the reserves to eliminate the portables and still maintain a $5M reserve fund balance. Fund reserves are usually used as a rainy day fund. Rainy day needs consist of a large unexpected project that wasn't budgeted in a given year. The largest such unfunded expenditure in D41 over the past 20 years was a boiler at Hadley at a cost of $250,000. In addition, the district carries an insurance policy for catastrophic events, like a fire destroying a building, so any really large expenditure is covered by insurance. Keep in mind, the district funds its annual operations by collecting most of its revenues through taxes. Everyone in Glen Ellyn pays their taxes, so the district automatically collects its revenues to operate its business for the upcoming year. There is very little, to no risk that the district cannot provide for its services. So ask yourself if the district really needs to keep $15,000,000 in reserves for a rainy day. The answer is no. Rather, they should spend these reserves to eliminate the portables at Hadley.
- The other capital projects that are attached to the referendum could be funded through an existing line item budget of $2-3M the district already budgets annually for capital projects.
In addition to eliminating the portables, the referendum seeks to address a list of capital projects that total $14M. They are trying to scare the public that these projects are Health Life Safety initiatives. The reality, is the real Health Life Safety initiatives that need to be addressed immediately from the audit cost $54,360. The other projects can be done over 5 years, and are largely infrastructure projects. If the referendum passes, these projects would be done over the next 4-5 years anyway because they are usually addressed during the summer months. The district currently budgets $2-$3M per year for capital projects, just like the ones on the list to be addressed by the referendum. In fact, most of the projects on the list are less than $500K, and not one is above the amount that is budgeted annually to address capital projects. Therefore the district could complete these projects with an already funded line item in their budget and complete the projects within 5 years.
- The initiatives targeted by the referendum will unnecessarily cost the taxpayer over $17M in interest expense.
The interest expense on the $24M bond is over $17M, so the cost of the referendum is over $41 to the taxpayer. Given that the projects could be funded through the reserve balance, and the capital projects budget, it would be fiscally irresponsible to incur this cost. Additionally it does not make any financial sense to keep $15M in reserves, earning less than a 1% return in CD's and borrowing money through the sale of a bond at an interest rate of over 4.5% to do these projects. The district implies that doing these projects together will cost less in the long run. Really, do they expect to save more than the $17M in interest expense by doing these projects together? The answer is no. They conveniently did not include that in their financial analysis.
- None of the monies requested for the referendum address critical gaps in D41 educational needs such as improving special education, providing full day kindergarten, or providing necessary upgrades to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum.
While the district provides a strong education for our children, there is always room for improvement. The district recently conducted a study of its special education curriculum, and the results were not encouraging. Many parents of special education children attended, and all agree there needs to be improvements, that will require funding.
The D41 Board and Administration have stated that it is "not if, but when they will be required to provide full day kindergarten." The districts around D41 already provide it. Whether you believe in full day kindergarten or not, the district is determined to provide it, and it will come at a cost.
Referendums should be used to address these gaps, not traditional low cost capital projects. The district does not have a plan or budget to address these gaps.
- Fund the elimination of portables at Hadley through the reserve balance
- Use the $2-3M Capital Budget line item in the budget to fund the additional infrastructure projects
- Develop a plan and funding request to address the critical gaps in the curriculum
- Let them know that enough is enough, and the community will support a referendum once they use the funds they have collected from D41 taxpayers, and have a plan to address these gaps
We want to see the portables eliminated, and are in favor of using the existing line item budget for capital projects, but until the board exhausts the funds it has and provides a comprehensive plan that includes curriculum needs, it would be fiscally irresponsible to support this referendum.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO VOTE. REFERENDUMS ARE PLACED ON THE BALLOT DURING LOW VOTER TURNOUT PERIODS.
EARLY VOTING STARTS MARCH 2OTH THROUGH AT THE GLEN ELLYN CIVIC CENTER 535 Duane Street:
March 20th through April 1, 2017 Monday - Friday from 8:30am - 7:30pm, and Saturdays from 9:00am - 5:00pm.
TUESDAY APRIL 4TH AT YOUR POLLING LOCATION