School Board to Increase Property Taxes—Again

The school board is set to adopt a tax levy that may increase the taxes on a median-valued  home ($350,000) by $308 next year.

A Truth in Taxation hearing was held as part of the Nov. 15 School Board meeting. State law requires a public hearing and disclosure when the estimated aggregate levy exceeds 105 percent of the amount of property taxes extended or estimated to be extended over the preceding year.  This has occurred for the first time in recent years due to inflation, according to the district’s Chief Financial Officer Tony Inglese.

The 2021 consumer price index (CPI) increase was 7 percent, yet the maximum extension that may be collected is 5 percent, according to Inglese, excluding the value of new construction added to the tax rolls. It is their standard practice to levy for more than the estimated limit to capture any unanticipated changes in property tax values.

The Truth in Taxation Law also requires disclosure of the Board’s current “cash reserve balance of all funds held by the district
related to its operational levy and, if applicable, any obligations secured by those funds.”

The fund reserve as of the end of October was over $77 million. Inglese acknowledged that this number was cited as a reason to
oppose the recent bond referendum, but said since the district only gets “paid” in June and September when property taxes come in, this money is needed to pay payrolls and bills through the end of the school year without having to resort to short term borrowing through tax anticipation warrants like they had to do up until 3 years ago. That $77 million is expected to drop to about $15-20 million before the next infusion of cash.

The tax levy will be approved as part of the regular Dec. 20 meeting.

There was a discussion of the bond referendum defeat but it was decided to delay consideration of alternatives until a future
meeting.

A special closed meeting is planned Dec. 3 to interview candidates for school superintendent.

Another special meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“Vote Yes” Campaign Funded by Outside Insider Corporations

“Yes for BPS101”, the group that sent out deceptive mailers accusing the anonymously sent “Vote No” mailers of being from “outsiders” and not complying with legal reporting requirements, are themselves funded by outsiders and not in legal compliance! Worse yet, “Yes” was funded by companies working for and with the school district (insiders) who could have profited substantially had the referendum passed. The “Yes” campaign contributions filing statement as of 11/9/22:

DLR Group is a planning/architectural/engineering firm that has been employed by the district since 2019 to put together all the moving parts for this referendum. In this document, you can see how extensively they’ve been involved: Final Report and Recommendations 2022.

Lamp Incorporated is an architectural/construction group. With the money from the 2007, $75 million referendum, Lamp built the additions to the high school that included the BFAC (Batavia Fine Arts Center) and fieldhouse:

Continue reading
Posted in School Board | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

$140 Million School Referendum Defeated

Update: Final tally 7060 NO to 7036 YES — referendum defeated by 24 votes

As of the evening on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the $140 million referendum was voted down by 176 votes, 6918 NO to 6742 YES. It may change a little in the coming days as mail-in ballots trickle in (must be postmarked by Nov. 8), but it is unlikely to change significantly.

Thank you to all who helped with the effort, especially to those who contributed for the yard signs. You helped draw attention to the referendum for many who had no idea it was on the ballot..

Batavians for Responsible Government had nothing to do with the mailers that urged a “no” vote and has no idea who sent them, but if the sender is reading this, we are very grateful you did!

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Demolish and Rebuild 2 Schools?

Part of the $140 million referendum proposal is to demolish and rebuild 2 schools, Louise White and H.C. Storm. Both schools are only 44 years old, built in 1978. In 2015, the last Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan lists both schools in “Good” condition. So why tear them down???

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vote NO to $140 Million Referendum

Update: “Vote NO” yard signs are available. Please request your sign through our “Contact Us” page.

On the November 8, 2022 ballot is a $140 MILLION referendum for BPS101. From the district website:

“Shall the Board of Education of Batavia Community Unit School District Number 101, Kane County, Illinois, be authorized to build and equip a new H.C. Storm School and a new Louise White School and demolish the existing buildings, and alter, repair, equip and improve its other school facilities, including but not limited to installing student safety and security enhancements and improving roofs, floors, windows, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, and improve the sites thereof, and issue its bonds to the amount of $140,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?”

The most important thing we want to add is that, this will not change your bond and interest tax levy. If the voters pass the referendum, it will allow the Board of Education to issue up to $140 million in school building bonds that coincide with the retirement of its existing debt to generate funding for capital improvements without increasing the bond and interest property tax levy.

The problem is, “this will not change your bond and interest tax levy” is an empty promise. Bonds MUST be paid, with NO LIMIT as to rate or amount taxpayers can be charged. In other words, THERE IS NO TAX CAP ON BONDED DEBT. The taxpayers are voting on a blank check that will come directly out of property taxes.

There are many other problems with this referendum:

  • Why demolish and rebuild 2 schools when enrollment has dropped significantly, and will continue to decline (projected loss of almost 700 students in the next 5 years!) and school buildings should really be eliminated?
  • The wording is so vague, nothing must be done and anything can be done, including that 2nd artificial turf field that is in the “Athletic Fields Redevelopment Plan” if they so choose.
  • This referendum is for $140 million in bonds, with unspecified interest. The School Board is promising they will not raise the amount of taxes going toward debt (of course they raise operational expenses by the maximum every year—5% or the cost of inflation, whichever is less, and get ready for a whopping increase next year!), but if the interest rates are higher than on the bonds we currently are paying off, they would either have to bond for less or charge more in taxes to cover the interest. Which do you think they’ll do?
  • What about soaring construction costs? What will be done if construction is deemed too expensive? Where will the money be used? “Improve its other school facilities” leaves endless possibilities for $140 million.
  • We are in a recession, perhaps headed toward a depression—do we need this now?
  • Gas prices, food prices, housing prices, etc. are all up, hurting families—why add to the burden? They don’t make it obvious that your property taxes would GO DOWN by hundreds or thousands of dollars (depending on home value) if this referendum is voted down. The school district currently takes 68.1% of your property taxes, of which 10.8% goes to paying debt ($9,001,485 of the $83,276,654 in total property taxes collected in 2022). To get a rough idea of what this referendum might cost you if approved (actual cost varies in relation to relative property value increases/decreases year to year), multiply the total property taxes you paid this year by .0735, the 7.35% of your tax bill going toward school debt service.
  • NOTE WELL: If this referendum fails to pass, your property taxes will go DOWN. This referendum is really about a tax INCREASE over the lower taxes you will be charged when the last of the current bonds are paid in 2026.
  • The Batavia School Board has a history of broken promises. Recall the 2007, $75 million referendum that they promised, “would not increase the property tax rate”, until it did just 4 years later, increasing their tax extension 11.5% that year, because there is NO LIMIT on tax increases when it comes to bond debt. Then instead of making good on their promise and cutting taxes with the windfall from the Premium Outlets Mall, they rolled those millions into their budget, thumbing their noses at the many taxpayers who attended meetings and wrote to the Board, with the former Superintendent calling us taxpayers, “fools”.

Does the school district need maintenance on the current buildings? Yes. The 2023 budget sets $2.7 million/yr for roofs, HVAC, paving, etc. Those regular expenses have been planned out years in advance and millions of dollars are set aside for them annually. Besides, the school board raises its budget and corresponding tax levy BY THE MAXIMUM ALLOWED BY LAW EVERY SINGLE YEAR (5% or the cost of inflation, whichever is less), so already they should have plenty of tax dollars to meet ordinary needs. This referendum would merely allow them to tax you more beyond the tax cap.

What about improvements like security that were unforeseen years ago (before school shootings) that fall outside of the scope of the ordinary Capital Projects Fund? An argument may be made for a limited, much, much smaller bond referendum, but that suggestion for an “Option D”—to bond a much smaller amount for security and special ed improvements while also reducing the tax burden significantly—would not be entertained by the district.

For all of these reasons and more, we urge you to vote “No” to this $140 million referendum.

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

$140,000,000 School Referendum

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 19, 7:00pm, the Batavia School Board will vote to put a referendum on the Nov. ballot, “to build and equip a new H.C. Storm School and a new Louise White School and demolish the existing buildings, and alter, repair, equip and improve its other school facilities, including but not limited to installing student safety and security enhancements and improving roofs, floors, windows, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, and improve the sites thereof (the “Project”) at an estimated cost of $140,000,000“. 

Also on the agenda is the tentative budget for the next school year. It looks like a 2% increase at the moment, but given the Board’s history of taxing to the max every year and the current sky high inflation, that number may go up (to a maximum 5% increase or CPI, whichever is lower).

Attend the meeting if you can. More info here:  https://go.boarddocs.com/il/bps101/Board.nsf/Public

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Library Remodeling?

Thursday, July 7, 6:30pm, the Batavia Library Committee of the Whole has on its agenda:

  1. Remodeling Project, Phase One: Master Plan / Concept Design
    a. Options for Master Plan / Concept Design, presented by Donald J. McKay, Principal, and Amy
    Schmieding, Associate, Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects Ltd.
    b. Remodeling Project, Phase One: Master Plan / Concept Design (Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects Ltd.) (Standing Committee on Facilities) (DISCUSSION and/or ACTION ITEM) {VOICE VOTE}

What is this ”Remodeling Project”? Is this part of the ”maintain and repair” a narrow majority voted for in 2018 (passed by 58 votes—6169 to 6111)? Go to the meeting tomorrow or tune in via Zoom and find out. Meeting info here: https://bataviapubliclibrary.org/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/2022/07/Agenda-2022-07-07-Committee-of-the-Whole-1.pdf

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

BPS Master Facilities Plan, Finances

Thursday, 2/24, 6:30-8:30pm, is Session 2 of the school district’s community engagement for a Master Facilities Plan. Topic: Finances. Review of Session 1 and info on Session 2 can be found here:  https://www.bps101.net/boft/community-engagement/

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

BPS Master Facilities Plan

Starting tomorrow night, Tuesday, 2/1/22, 6:30pm, the School District will begin holding meetings regarding a Master Facilities Plan. More details here: https://www.bps101.net/boft/community-engagement/

Please try to attend. They are likely gearing up for a referendum because the $75 million BFAC/fieldhouse bonds are set to be paid off in a few years.

Posted in School Board | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SHODEEN PROJECT IS DEAD!

Shodeen pulled out of the agreement for the massive 1 N. Washington apartment complex downtown:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment