After nearly two months of turmoil over the enrollment figures used in the 2007 referendum, Geneva School District 304 officials say they do not know exactly how the numbers were derived. But TaxFACTS founder, Bob McQuillan, and others say the issue matters because on March 17, 2007, voters approved a $79.9 million referendum, the largest in the district’s history, by just 100 votes. Those inflated enrollment numbers, many taxpayers claim, misled the public about the need for such a referendum.
A Geneva School District 304 resident Monday questioned how enrollment figures given in the 2007 referendum were inflated. Sandra Ellis said she questioned how the enrollment projection could be so inflated, even beyond the district’s own consultant’s highest projection. That consultant had projected increased enrollment from 2006-2012 at 345 students. Yet school officials in 2007 claimed an increase of 1,618 students for the same period when promoting the need for a tax referendum that year.
Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday asked teachers and state employees to pay more toward their own retirements and said he’s looking for a way to shift some of the state’s pension costs to local schools, all in an effort to ease the state’s escalating pension costs.
Local school districts would no longer be required to bus students to school or could charge students fees to ride under a plan being considered by the Illinois State Board of Education. The state is considering pushing changes in the coming weeks that would end a state mandate for free busing for students who live more than a mile and a half from school or who face certain hazards that prevent walking.
A recently adopted Illinois education reform law is allowing Peoria school officials to ignore the union seniority system as they determine what teachers to lay off in an effort to eliminate a $6 million deficit.
Peoria school officials voted Monday to issue pink slips to 53 full-time teachers, including 28 teachers who “are either tenured teachers who received unsatisfactory evaluations or were hired too late in the school year to receive evaluations,” according to PJstar.com.
Grayslake High School District 127 received a new 5 year contract. The contract gives Dr. Catherine Finger a $65,000 raise or put another way, a 30% increase over the next 5 years. This raise does not include all benefits as calculated by TRS (Teacher retirement System) and is stated to mirror the teachers contract.
Recently, an analysis by two Bureau of Labor Statistics economists, published in the winter 2012 Journal of Economic Perspectives, concluded that the salary and current benefits of state and local government employees nationwide are 10% and 21% higher, respectively, than private-sector employees doing similar work. This study didn’t even factor in the market value of public-pension benefits, nor did it include the value of retiree health coverage.
Have you detected an expense that directly benefits children? Me either. Yet Milwaukee, like too many other schools, continues throwing money out the door to make adults happy and maintain “labor peace.” With this kind of reckless spending, it’s no wonder Milwaukee Public Schools are facing a financial crisis.
People who oppose school tax referendums are often considered anti-education and anti-children. That is not true. No one is against kids and education. People who oppose referendums are anti-wasteful spending. They care just as much about kids and education as those who support it.