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Letter: Referendum to keep Somonauk schools ‘whole’

To the Editor:

When you go to vote in the Nov. 6 election, if you live in the Somonauk school district you will see a question on the ballot about Somonauk schools wanting to increase the maximum allowed tax rate for the education fund by 0.9 percent.

You may ask what the school district would do with this additional revenue.

With the revenue to the district declining over the last three years, the first consideration is to keep the district “whole.” At this point, all indications are that revenue to the district for next year is declining again. Even after the home values start to recover in our area, the school district’s income from taxes will remain low, as the equalized assessed value for homes is calculated on a three-year average.

The state of Illinois is still not making full payments to school districts in the state. This year’s payment is 89 percent of what the state owes the district, and we cannot predict what they will pay us next year. With this in mind, we predict that 70 to 80 percent of the revenue from this tax increase will offset the decline in revenue from taxes and state aid.

The remaining 20 to 30 percent may be used for some or all of the following: upgrading our outdated technology available to students, increasing the number of electives available to students based on demand, replacing outdated textbook materials, and being able to afford continuation of athletic and fine arts programs. We also want to be able to attract and keep qualified faculty and staff by offering fair and reasonable salary increases. Like many, the Somonauk faculty and staff have taken salary freezes for three out of four years, as well as had their benefits decreased.

No hard dollar amounts are listed here as it is impossible to specifically identify what the additional revenue is that will be received by the district.

Home assessments are predicted to drop again, resulting in the district seeing an incremental increase to their revenue that will not equal 0.9 percent of the revenue received today.

Somonauk schools continue to be the pride of our community; they are committed to our children and preparing them for their future. Find more information about the referendum at www.citizensforsomonaukschools.com.

Laurel Gozder

Sheridan

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