Now is not the time to ask residents for more school funding. That was the word from the Board of Education.
At a time when home values continue to decline and so many homes in DuPage County are in foreclosure, the board decided that asking residents to vote on a referendum now would not be in the district’s best interest.
The board of education discussed the matter Monday night during its regular board meeting.
“How could they (residents) vote for something we don’t need right away,” Board President Lori Gaspar said during the discussion. “Home values are going down, yet taxes are going up. That is a question I get all the time. How do you ask for more money when the value of their homes is going down? It’s a hard sell even under good economic times.”
While the district had planned to be in the red, the district is actually expecting a swing to the positive side, said Assistant Superintendent Maureen Jones.
The district’s financial picture is not looking as negative as it thought in April, Jones said, adding there is still a structural deficit, but it is not as bleak.
“The district is benefitting from some prior beneficial decisions some $2.5 million in cuts that are now beginning to accrue as well as some efficiencies creating cost savings,” said Superintendent John Perdue. Those cost saving include a new janitorial services contract and transportation contract.
The response from residents who attended a community forum was that the board should hold off on the referendum as long as possible, Perdue said.
“My only thought on this is, for a long time we’ve been telling the community we were going to need to go for a referendum and now we are going to tell them we aren’t,” said Board Member Terry Lachcik said. “Are we really just putting of the inevitable?”
The board agreed to hold off on seeking funding and to continue to monitor the situation.