Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Concerned Lake Bluff Taxpayers, which includes John Marozsan, Ed Holstein, Neil Dahlmann, Bill Minor, Bob Troyer, and Dave McElvain. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy on Reader Forums.
By Concerned Lake Bluff Taxpayers
Lake Bluff School District 65 is hosting a “Town Hall” forum this coming Tuesday evening October 23rd, at the Village Hall, 7:30 PM, following the regular board meeting. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT AS MANY VILLAGE RESIDENTS AS POSSIBLE ATTEND NEXT TUESDAY’S MEETING. It will be the best opportunity to provide feedback and guidance to the board regarding future reserves management, cost reduction and tax levies.
This meeting is in follow-up to the board meeting held on 9/25, where plans were presented regarding reduction of School District cash reserves. Below, please find a recap of one proposal, referred to as Plan B. It produces a debt reduction from excess reserves, reducing the current reserves level to 61.5% of annual expenditures. We believe a more reasonable level would be a reduction to the 40 to 45 percent range.
Although there is a tax reduction in the plan for FY 2114, there is no plan to reduce expenditures over the next five years. Accordingly, by 2018, the tax burden will have returned to the current level. This is despite the facts of our current dramatically high operating cost per student, $19,200, and continued decline in student enrollment.
The summarized result: Budgeted expenditures continue to rise unabated, no sustained Property Tax reduction.
Comparative Measurements vs. Other School Districts
The following are comparisons of other Chicago area School Districts with Lake Bluff SD65, related to key expense measurements: This data was obtained from the 2011 Illinois Schools Report, as posted on the Sun Times website.
Please note that the data is for the 2010-11 school year. The most recent LB data for the current year produces a Cost per Student of $19,200, due to declining enrollment and a $1 million expense budget increase for the current fiscal year. Of particular significance is the Lake Bluff low % of total expense spent directly on instruction / education.
The obvious action plan that should proceed from this data is a comparative line item expense study with other school districts that operate in a more cost effective manner, yet deliver a quality education outcome in the process. Clearly, continuing down the same fiscal path as in the past is unacceptable.
Again, it is extremely important to attend the Town Hall meeting next Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30 Lake Bluff Village Hall, and lend support to the message that not only significant reduction of cash reserves must be achieved, but cost reductions must occur as well, to move toward an affordable District 65 resource.
Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice your opinions. Hope to see you there !!
Concerned Lake Bluff Taxpayers