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Supporters of Flat Levy in D86 Should Be Applauded: Letter

Roger Kempa of Darien submitted a letter commending the District 86 board members who are expected to vote in favor of the flat levy.

Patch file graphic
Patch file graphic

The following letter to Patch was submitted by Roger Kempa of Darien:

Hinsdale Township High School District 86 board members Claudia Manley, Ed Corcoran, Victor Casini and Richard Skoda have stated they will vote "yes" for a flat tax levy. They are to be applauded for using intelligence, empathy, consideration to multiple relevant factors, and professional demeanor in making this decision. 

Having an open finance committee meeting to discuss the tax levy prior to the preliminary vote at the November board meeting, not required by law, demonstrated new openness, and an opportunity for anyone to ask questions or make comments after a presentation by the district's audit firm, financial consultant, and business office staff. Unlike previous years, a draft copy of audited financial report and management letter were made available at the beginning of the meeting. This provided an early opportunity for all to review those documents prior to the annual audit presentation and annual tax levy approval at the December board meeting.

In previous years, only one factor was considered in determining the property tax levy and that was whether it was the maximum tax increase allowed by law (a "balloon tax levy"). It was not based upon need, financial condition and projections, analysis of costs, elimination of waste, and other factors. It was solely based upon the intent to collect the maximum tax bill from each and every taxpayer in District 86. Nothing beyond a simple calculation was required; there was no thought process. 

Departure from this "tax and spend" ideology related to the annual tax levy is needed. Hopefully, board members Kay Gallo, Michael Kuhn and Jennifer Planson understand that and will demonstrate solidarity as one united board, voting "yes" for the flat levy.

Check out other letters to the editor about the District 86 flat levy: 
Dick Flesher December 11, 2013 at 07:09 PM
One of the many relevant points missing about the PMA report is the fact that just one set of assumptions was put forward on a variety of expenses. Three of four sets of assumptions would have made for an more informed decision. This is one of many shortcomings of how the 0% levy came about.
Bill Casey December 12, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Joe is really making the circuit here by trying to support this flat tax levy. Though he makes some actually good and valid points, I can't help be see through each of his articles as simply selfish. We all hate the tax increases that come up annually, but I urge you to become more informed that listening to one sided opinions. Such a levy will truly limit what D86 can do in the future. The way schools are funded is fractured but it is the only way. We, the community are the only ones who can keep it "as is". I support our schools and will do so when my kids are even long gone. It is a sense of responsibility and pride we should all have.
Stephen Weiland December 14, 2013 at 01:06 AM
Excellent letter, Mr. Kempa. The new Board's increased transparency is to be commended as well its application of financial analysis to how much we need vs taking all we can. last year, D86 ran a $1.9mm surplus, and is projected to generate a $1.4mm surplus this year. I very much doubt that the projections for such an extremely stable and predictable enterprise could be materially off. With a ballon levy, the goal of those against fiscal responsibility, we would generate a surplus of a few million adding to an already arguably oversized reserve that sits in a bank account earning 25 bps.

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