Previous tax increases

Tom’s NG article today caused me to ask Kacich about previous tax referendums, and he provided a very nice link to a document on the County Clerk’s website:

http://champaigncountyclerk.com/elections/docs/referenda_1940_present_dateorder.pdf

 

UPDATE:

I should also add a quick tweet convo about the Unit 4 taxes being one of the lowest in the “big 12”:

https://twitter.com/Unit4Schools/status/494148435797614592

The Unit 4 property tax rate will have a “.51 – .52 increase assuming 20 year bonds and no other offsets”, going from 4.30 to 4.81.

 

UPDATE 2: Added 1% sales Tax (HT Pattsi)

 

Here are the Unit 4 pieces of the pie


Nonpartisan – 1983

A Proposition For the Adoption Of A Higher Tax Rate For Educational Purposes
Yes Votes: 4,135
No Votes : 3,606
Passed: Yes

It is estimated that the approximate amount of taxes extendible under the maximum rate presently in force and otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended is $11,132,991.81 and that the approximate amount of taxes extendible under the proposed increased tax rate computed upon the last known cash value is $12,292,678.46.

“Shall the maximum annual tax rate for educational purposes of Community Unit School District No. 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be increased and established at 2.65% on the full, fair, cash value of all taxable property in said School District, as equalized or assessed by the Department of Local Governmental Affairs instead of 2.40%, the maximum tax rate otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended for said purposes?”

A Proposition For The Adoption Of A Higher Tax Rate For Operations, Building And Maintenance Purposes
Yes Votes: 3,627
No Votes : 4,140
Passed: No

It is estimated that the approximate amount of taxes extendible under the maximum rate presently in
force and otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended is $1,739,529.97 and that the
approximate amount of taxes extendible under the proposed increase tax rate computed upon the last
known cash value is $2,319,373.29.

“Shall the maximum annual tax rate for operations, building and maintenance purposes of Community
Unit School District No. 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be increased and established at .50% on the
full, fair, cash value of all taxable property in said School District, as equalized or assessed by the
Department of Local Governmental Affairs, instead of .375%, the maximum tax rate otherwise
applicable to the next taxes to be extended for said purposes?”


Consolidated General – 1993

Proposition To Approve The Construction Of One New Elementary School Building And To Construct Additions To Existing School Buildings And To Issue Building Bonds For Such Purposes
Yes Votes: 4,933
No Votes : 5,294
Passed: No

Shall Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be authorized to construct one new elementary school building and make additions to existing school buildings and issue $11.3 million in building construction bonds for such purposes?

Proposition To Increase The Tax Rate For Educational Purposes
Yes Votes: 4,810
No Votes : 5,312
Passed: No

A. The School District is commonly known as “Champaign Community Schools”.
B. The approximate amount of educational taxes extendible under the maximum rate now in force (2.65 percent) is the sum of $17,756,238.56.
C. The approximate amount of educational taxes extendible under the proposed increased rate (3.15 percent) is the sum of $21,106,472.25.
D. The total dollar amount of the most recently approved annual budget of Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4 was $37,833,815.00.
E. The total dollar amount of the annual budget would be $41,184,048.69, if increased by the amount of the additional tax which may be levied if the proposition is approved.
F. The percentage of increase in the total dollar amount of the most recently approved budget of the School District if such total dollar amount were increased by the amount of additional taxes which may be levied if the proposition is approved is 8.8551 percent.
G. The existing tax rate for the education fund is 2.65 percent. The proposal represents an 18.87% increase in the education fund tax rate.

Shall the maximum annual tax rate for educational purposes of Champaign Community Unit School District No.4, Champaign County, Illinois, be increased and established at 3.15 percent of the value of the taxable property in said District as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue instead of 2.65 percent, the maximum rate otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended for said purpose?


Primary – 1994

Proposition To Increase The Tax Rate For Educational Purposes
Yes Votes: 6,765
No Votes : 5,782
Passed: Yes

Shall the maximum annual tax rate for educational purposes of Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be increased and established at 3.05 percent of the value of the taxable property in said District as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue instead of 2.65 percent, the maximum rate otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended for said purpose?

A. The School District is commonly known as “Champaign Community Schools”.
B. The approximate amount of educational taxes extendible under the maximum rate now in force (2.65 percent) is the sum of $18,510,771.01.
C. The approximate amount of educational taxes extendible under the proposed increased rate (3.05 percent) is the sum of $21,304,849.65.
D. The total dollar amount of the most recently approved annual budget of Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4 was $40,473,868.00.
E. The total dollar amount of the annual budget would be $43,267,946.64, if increased by the amount of the additional tax which may be levied if the proposition is approved.
F. The percentage of increase in the total dollar amount of the most recently approved budget of the School District if such total dollar amount were increased by the amount of additional taxes which may be levied if the proposition is approved is 6.90 percent.
G. The existing tax rate for the education fund is 2.65 percent. The proposal represents a 15.09% increase in the education fund tax rate.

Proposition To Approve The Construction Of A New Elementary School Building (North Of University Avenue) And/Or Build Additions Onto Existing School Buildings And To Issue Building Bonds For Such Purposes
Yes Votes: 5,808
No Votes : 6,591
Passed: No

Shall Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be authorized to construct a new elementary school building (North of University Avenue) and/or build additions onto existing school buildings and issue $10,500,000 in building construction bonds for such purposes?


 Consolidated General – 1997

Proposition To Approve The Construction Of Two New Elementary School Buildings; And Make Additions, Renovations Or Alterations To Central High School; And Make Interior Alterations Or Renovations To Existing Schools To Facilitate New Educational Technology; And To Issue $21.6 Million In Building Construction Bonds For Such Purposes
Yes Votes: 6,529
No Votes : 3,391
Passed: Yes

Shall Community Unit School District No. 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be authorized to construct two new elementary school buildings; and make additions, renovations or alterations to Central High School; and make interior alterations or renovations to existing schools to facilitate new educational technology; and to issue $21.6 million in building construction bonds for such purposes?


Primary – 2006

Proposition To Issue $65,940,000 School Building Bonds
Yes Votes: 4,017
No Votes : 7,094
Passed: No

Shall the Board of Education of Champaign Community Unit School District Number 4, Champaign County, Illinois, acquire and improve school sites, build and equip school buildings, improve the sites of, build and equip additions to and alter, repair and equip school buildings of said School District and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $65,940,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?


General – 2008

Question Of Imposing A Retailers’ Occupation Tax And A Service Occupation Tax For School Facility Purposes
Yes Votes: 38,279
No Votes : 38,541
Passed: No

“Shall Champaign County be authorized to impose a retailers’ occupation tax and a service occupation tax (commonly referred to as a “sales tax”) at a rate of one percent (1%) to be used exclusively for school facility purposes?”


 Consolidated General – 2009

Proposition to Impose County School Facility Occupation Taxes
Yes Votes: 13,717
No Votes : 12,168
Passed: Yes

Shall The County of Champaign, Illinois, be authorized to impose a retailers’ occupation tax and a service occupation tax (commonly referred to as a “sales tax”) at a rate of 1% to be used exclusively for school facility purposes?

NG Editor speaks up about the high school siting issue

First, read Mr. Dey’s article:

http://www.news-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2013-12-11/central-high-school-issue-takes-center-stage.html

Update: Also ChamabanaMoms is asking the same question:

http://www.chambanamoms.com/2013/12/10/newchampaignhighschool/

And be sure, Unit 4 has already ramped up the “sell”; all the amazing videos coming out, the quotes from current students, reports from current high school officials… I am not saying these are bad things, my point is to acknowledge that work has already started to get people in a favorable mood for passing a tax referrendum. It makes a lot of sense from the school district point of view.

And then we have a number of folks who are giving public comments at board meetings. My hat is off to them for taking the time to attend board meetings and make their voices heard. Tod Satterthwaite has spoken a few times in the past few weeks, members of the Ministerial Alliance and representatives of the NAACP have voice grave concerns, Holly Nelson has spoken against the current direction, as well as other various members of the community that I am not familiar with; all these citizens are saying they do not like the idea of a school north of I-74. I wish the board would react more publicly to all these people. Granted, Jamar has responded directly to a couple points (ie, explaining why Country Fair didn’t work out), but so far, the board has not released a scorecard of all sites, weighing out the various metrics for each site. Even the RPC “analysis” of the various sites that was published late on boarddocs gives only a cursory glance at how schools measure up in travel costs. And why is Centennial used as a baseline? That confuses me to no end – why is not Central used as a baseline if that is the school we are replacing? The lack of trust-building does not bode well. Read the rest of this entry »

Taxes and Capital Improvements

I have been following the WakeEd blog (from the Wake County News Observer); recently, T. Keung Hui posted noticed that the school board passed a resolution to ask for $939.9 million in funding. That’s right, $940 million.

I did some digging around to put things in perspective. First, I knew that Wake County was much larger than Champaign Unit 4 – like two orders of magnitude larger. Their 2012-2013 projected enrollment is 149,508. So I asked how such a large referendum ($810 million, not the full $940) translates to property tax increases, and Keung replied it is about $55 on a $100,000 home. Get this, Wake County (WCPS) has been passing bond referendums on a fairly regular schedule, its actually quite impressive:

Year $Million per $100,000
2000 500 34.13580247*
2004 564 38.50518519*
2006 970 66.22345679*
2013 810 55.3
total 2844 194.1644444

* Using the 2013 tax rate of $55.3 per $100,000 on a $810 million bond – these are not actual values. If you know them, please let me know.

 

With that money, they have built, on average, 14 new schools and renovated, on average, 21 schools per referendum. Or for a total of 42 new schools and 62 renovated schools, prior to 2013. Wow! And that cost $139 per $100,000 in property taxes (again, subtracting out the 2013 value). Not too shabby.

In comparison, Unit 4 wants $180 per $100,000 in 2014 and another $70 in 2018. The working cash bond of 2012 works out to roughly $16.67 per $100,000. There is already controversy about the 2014 referendum; there is even not much consensus on what direction to head in.

The point of this post is to look at other school districts and see how they do capital improvements. I just happened to watch WCPS because they are tied up with Alves “Controlled Choice” thing as well, just played out on a much larger scale. I wonder what other school districts are doing. How do they get to the point that they can pass referendums every so often, backed by a well-thought out plan?

Sources:

Why I invest so much of my energy in Unit 4

prop_tax

 

 

Short and sweet. I would be curious what the chart would look like for those that live in Champaign proper. Bondville?

Heads up – Nov 5 Regular Board Meeting

Just looking through the Nov 5 Regular Board Meeting agenda posted on BoardDocs and spotted a few things; it is my intention to chew on these and respond later, but I at least wanted to mention these so others could be thinking and commenting as well. The “Controlled Choice” is what prompted me to make this post.

 

  • What is School Board Member Day (Nov 15)? 🙂
  • Schools of Controlled Choice Seat Assignment – lots of modifications to the written Policy, including the global replacement of the word ‘Lottery’ with ‘assignment’
  • Eliminate Proximity A and B.  With the addition of a new school in Savoy, there is no longer a need to have both a Proximity A and B. All households have a Proximity school.
  • Magnet Registration will be concurrent with March Kindergarten registration.
  • Wait list for both elementary and middle school will expire at the end of the first semester.
  • School report card – 30 pages of data, wow. I still don’t get why they print it out, and then scan in the printout to be displayed on the webpage. Why not just post the original?
  • Abating property taxes (x3) – I wish they would provide a “common language” translation of this financial mumbo jumbo. How about something that a 5th grader can read? My understanding is that abatement is a good thing for us because we tax-payers no longer pay property tax on outstanding bond debt from 1997, 2006 and 2010. I think. But I am pretty sure we still pay the same amount of property tax, it just goes towards something else.
  • Having said that, the next items is a Tax Levy. I appreciate that Dr. Joe Davis is explaining this one a little more, but it is still confusing. Remember the big bally-hoo about Working Cash Bonds this summer? Part of the new Tax Levy will cover the first two payments. I think the bulk of the Tax Levy is being used to offset the expected decrease in revenues due to a lower “valuation”. AKA, Black Magic. 🙂
  • A number of other HR changes followed (new staff needed for Early Childhood Center, ESL, a summary report of how many resignations, terminations, etc).
  •  

    On top of all that, current Board President Sue Grey has been promoted to CEO of the local United Way (NG article) and according to the News-Gazette will step down as BOE President; the NG reports a finding in the School Board Policy that the VP usually takes over, that being Stig Lanesskog. Congrats to Sue Grey!!

     

     

    Wake County does their own version of "Working Cash Bonds"

    Whom do tax rebates truly help?

    re: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/politics-and-government/2012-04-30/champaign-council-consider-rebate-proposed-hotel.html

    I have been reading “The Great American Jobs Scam” (hat tip to Pattsi Petrie). If what Greg LeRoy says is accurate and precise, red flags and klaxon alarms start going off in my head when I hear about any kind of tax incentive that purports to “bring in new business”. The NUMBER ONE big thing, to me, is the need for transparency and accountability. These two are inseparable. And I want to clarify that I am not opposed to tax incentives in and of themselves – rather it is the need to know exactly where our money is going and why. It is the fundamental rule of being fiscally responsible and having a budget. If one cannot account for the flow of money, one is not mature enough to handle it, IMO.

     

    As such, I have sent the following email to the Board (and I carbon copied Dr. Wiegand and Mr. Gene Logas):

    Good morning, Members of the Board,

    In regards to a News-Gazette article about a new proposal to bring in a hotel to downtown Champaign, the City is planning to offer substantial tax rebates. I am not certain if school board members typically get involved in such discussions or not, but I urge the Board to get involved if they are not. It is my understanding that such a new tax rebate, if put into effect, will further reduce monies coming into the school system. It is not such much that this is a “big evil plan”, but rather this is just one more example of how public tax dollars are funneled into the hands of corporate interests and away from our children. I know each of you care very much about education and all the students, and I thank you for fighting for them.

     

    Working Cash Bonds mashup : March 12th

    Bonus Meeting with Dr. Judy Wiegand, Gene Logas, Sue Grey, Tom Lockman and Don Kermath

    I gave my own sort of “notice” that I was going to be doing this meeting and nobody gave me any questions, so I was content to be a fly on the wall. I don’t remember how I found out about the meeting, but I promptly invited myself for the sole purpose of learning more about working cash bonds. It was a rather informative session; I’ll try to boil down all the finance jargon, and in doing so I hope I do not misstate anything. At the very least, you are getting my perspective on what happened. I am sure there are other perspectives. 🙂

    For starters, there is a ton of historical context that I know I often forget about, and I am sure others do as well. Where to start, where to start….

    • Over the past 50 some years, the School District had become negligent in maintaining its facilities. Instead of occasionally raising money to make minor updates/fixes/modifications, the District stalled and deferred what one might call “regular maintenance”. If I have my numbers right, back in about 2002 an out-of-town architecture firm was hired and gave an estimate of $200 million just to bring all the buildings up to modern standards. A few years later, BLDD confirmed the estimate (for free – no charge to the District). In the words of Sue Grey, this was the elephant. “And how does on eat an elephant?”
    • On top of that, the one and only voter-approved bond referendum (aka, property tax increase) was for $26 million in 1998, after which Stratton and Barkstall were built. Keep in mind that old facilities were not touched – only new facilities were built.
    • Another aspect; the amount of money coming in from property taxes consistently went down every single year since 1996 with exception of 2008 (documents from the COO). Pattsi argues (as have others by now) that this only tells part of the story. Yet this is the only story I currently have that has numbers.
    • When Gene was hired, he looked at the budget and nearly passed out (author’s artistic rewrite of what was said *grin*) – he quickly filed a true emergency working cash bonds to get the District back on sound financial ground.
    • And this last one gets to be a bit fun. When Unit 4 put up the referendum for the 1% Sales Tax, what exactly did they promise? The most common answer is probably “they promised not to raise property taxes!!” Which is interesting. Did they? Check out the promises that we the community have been holding the Board accountable to – this is nothing new. Even though we might forget about it from time to time. And especially since the PMPK meetings are sparsely attended. (Please note, I am not assigning blame, just trying state my observations). Greg Novak pointedly questioned Gene Logas about this back in June 2010.

    There was probably more said. Don Kermath had some really excellent questions and Read the rest of this entry »

    Promises Made, Promises Kept: a request and questions for the March 8th meeting

    Here is an email I sent to the Board, Dr. Wiegand and Mr. Gene Logas:

    Good afternoon,

    I hope you all are able to enjoy the warm (although windy) weather we are having. 🙂
    In light of the Promises Made, Promises Kept (PMPK) meeting tomorrow evening, and the general context of the various issues surrounding the working cash bonds, I have a general request and a few accompanying questions.
    I request that any information presented at the meeting tomorrow be made publicly available (either via the U4 website, or I can post it quickly elsewhere) within 4 business days. I say this because the PMPK only meets every three or four months, thus meeting minutes take at least that long to be approved and finally posted. I am hoping for a quicker turn-around. 🙂
    And now some questions for the PMPK Committee (the answers to which I am hoping will be made available soon after the meeting *grin*).
    1. What is the current dollar amount the Board wishes to issue working cash bonds for? I understand from the last Board meeting that $14.5 million is the upper limit – what is the current amount of money under consideration that will actually be needed?
    2. Related to the first question, what is the current quote for installing wireless infrastructure, and what are the individual line items for that component?
    3. In the June 9th PMPK Meeting Minutes, Ms. Blank is said to seek specific descriptions of building deterioration for the sake of helping the community understand why sales tax dollars are spent on facilities such as the Bus Garage. What conditions have escalated the situation now that warrants an emergency working cash bond to cover these expenses?
    4. And finally, this last one may not have a cut-and-dried answer yet (maybe it does), so I’ll ask it sort of rhetorically (but I do mean for it to be considered): During the Board’s various interactions with the community (whether it be face to face, one on one, small groups, business meetings, etc), what issues has the community indicated is a fiscal priority?
    Thank you for your hard work, your long hours and above all, your stalwart and steadfast desire to provide excellent education to our children. You have my sincere thanks. Please note that I very much am aware of how the current economic situations is making life in Unit 4 rather difficult, with the impending promise of even less State aid in the near future; I realize you are trying your best to fix problems as you see it, and I respect that very much.
    Humbly yours,

    The wrong question

    “Shall the Board of Education of Champaign Community Unit School District Number 4, Champaign County, Illinois, be authorized to issue $14,500,000 bonds for a working cash fund as provided for by Article 20 of the School Code?”

    — Unit 4 March 2012 Petition

    I have been bothered by this whole thing (“torn“), and I think I finally put my finger on it; we are asking the wrong question. In my opinion, the real question is “How shall the Board direct the Superintendent to provide the best learning environments for all our citizens?” Allow me to deconstruct the current question that we have before us, and then build up the question I think we should be asking.

    What the heck is a working cash bond? Read the rest of this entry »