By: Diane Benjamin
If you live in the Tri-Valley School District you should have received information about the Referendum on the March 20th ballot. The referendum, if passed, will result in no increase in property taxes. That means if it fails your property taxes will decrease. The decrease would be between .69 and .70.
Last year the property tax rates were:
Tri-Valley – 5.65639
Unit 5 – 5.01469
Dist 87 – 5.13998
Yes, Tri-Valley was already higher.
I did take the Tri-Valley tour with Superintendent Dr. Mouser. Some of the upgrades listed are obviously needed. The High School is pieced together with temporary walls. The band didn’t have enough space when my kids attended. The current gym does need a new floor.
The referendum is asking to spend $15,211,480.
Included in this number is adding an auditorium, new gym, and new entrance. This is where the question has to be asked: What is the purpose of school? Obviously the answer should be educating. Now, ask yourself if the new additions contribute to improving education.
If you think music, theater, and sports improve education and the current facilities hinder education, you will answer yes.
I asked Dr. Mouser to provide enrollment numbers, he sent this:
The numbers are relatively stable. The future can’t be predicted, people keep leaving Illinois and State Farm keeps downsizing departments while bringing some people from other states here.
Dr. Mouser told me they did hold meetings with citizens, I never heard about any of them.
He provided me with this cost break-down: Estimate for Summer 2018 Work
Several things bother me:
- The referendum in on the Primary ballot where turnout is normally low. To vote on just the referendum, you can ask for a non-partisan ballot that will ONLY have the referendum.
- I don’t like the “taxes won’t increase approach”. Plans were made to spend exactly enough to keep taxes where they are. We all know property taxes are outrageous and nothing is going to change that anytime soon.
I don’t know how many people moved to this school district just so kids could attend Tri-Valley. We did. Our kids participated in sports and band, but we didn’t move to give them that opportunity. Yes, the stage in the commons area means attendees are packed in a tight area. For me that’s was part of the Tri-Valley charm. It’s a small school district, I liked that feel. The question is: Will the district lose that feel with the new addition?
I would have liked to have seen a referendum that would both fix the obvious problems at the high school and lower the tax rate. If the addition is built it will be wonderful. Is wonderful essential to the future success of students? I would have sent our kids to Unit 5 if I thought that mattered.
There are a lot of good things in the plans. You have to decide for yourself on the total package.
Of course you also have to vote.
If the referendum fails, there is no reason the plans can’t be brought for a vote again without the addition proposed now.
Please share this information with people you know in the Tri-Valley School District!