KANELAND—The Kaneland School Board agreed to increase the tax levy at the Monday meeting.
This means that the tentative tax levy that had been approved at the October meeting will go into effect.
The requested amount is $52,210,825 and includes operating levy amounts and bond and interest amounts.
According to a report by Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for Business for the Kaneland School District, money received will provide programs, services, operating costs and other expenditures for 2014-15.
The only two board members who have consistently voted against the tax increase are Tony Valente and Pedro Rivas.
“I’m not going to compare us to other districts,” Rivas said. “We’re us. This is a hard time. At home we’ve had to tighten our belts. That’s what we need to continue to do here.”
Area residents and taxpayers packed the meeting room and many stood up to express their opposition to the home tax increases before the board voted.
Denise Zabelle, Elburn resident, voiced her concerns.
“How much can you grab from us now?” Zabelle asked. “You’re taking more money from us.”
She pointed out that Sugar Grove is asking for $6.50 and the village of Elburn, $27 a year.
“This ‘it’s only’ is adding up,” Zabelle said. “I would like an explanation.”
Her husband Dave Filipski said that the private sector has taken a beating since 2006 and added that the federal and state government is “after us.”
“Everyone’s killing us,” Filipski said. “Enough is enough.”
Sugar Grove resident Jason Mann has spoken in favor of a tax levy increase. He noted the idea that the the district is working on “more with less.” He said that spending, not including Chicago public schools, is less per pupil on instruction than the state average.
“That is sad,” Mann said.
Gale Paviak, board secretary, said that there had been more than $7 million cut from the budget in the last four years. She said that teachers and administrators had not received increases.
“Do we provide our teachers with benefits?” Paviak asked. “Yes. We are not going into this blindfolded. But we have to look at the big picture.”
At the last meeting, Valente had questioned Fuchs about the special education fund in regards to July 31 through currently. He had asked what has changed to warrant doubling the special education fund amount.
Fuchs had explained that the education fund has maxed its tax rate and EAV has dropped.
“To me, robbing Peter to pay Paul—if that’s not a backdoor referendum, I don’t know what is,” Valente said Monday.