Latest News Updates
District 220 New Teachers’ Contract On Line
Information regarding the new teachers’ contract is now available on the District 220 website. At its meeting on April 2, 2013 the school board approved the “final text” of the contract approved on February 19, 2013 and operative since that date.
The information is available in two forms:
Board of Education Candiate's Forum
There will be a forum of the candidates running for the four open seats on the District 220 Board of Education:
Where: Village Church, 1600 E. Main Street, Barrington, IL
There are six candidates vying for the four positions in the April 9, 2013 election. The term is four years. Clicking on each name will take you to a profile that was published in the Daily Herald newspaper.
- Penny Kazmier — incumbent
- Sandra Ficke-Bradford — incumbent
- Wendy Farley — challenger
- Sophia Chen-deVries — challenger
- Christopher Geier — challenger
- Jerry Keaton — challenger
The forum will begin with self-introductions by each candidate, followed by a question and answer session, using questions from the audience submitted either at the forum or online (see barrington220.org, upper left corner of home page for link) prior to the forum.
Sponsored by the PTO Presidents’ Council, the forum is open to the public. The event is free.
Property Taxes In Illinois
Did you know that:
- Illinois has higher property taxes as a percent of property value than 44 U.S. states, and Lake County, IL property taxes are 17th highest out of 806 U.S. counties examined (highest 2%).
- Illinois now has the worst credit rating of all 50 states with $9.7 billion in unpaid bills and over $200 billion in debt obligations half of which is unfunded pensions.
- The “State Budget Crisis Task Force” led by former Fed chairman Paul Volcker says Illinois has the worst unfunded pension liability of any state, Illinois’ budget is not fiscally sustainable, and infrastructure needs over the next 20-30 years will exceed $300 billion .
- Illinois is near the bottom of U.S. states in most economic measures including economic outlook and the ability to attract business to the state.
- Illinois has lost nearly 130,000 jobs in the last decade and neighboring states are growing due to the flight of jobs and businesses from Illinois.
- To help solve these problems for the state, Governor Quinn has proposed shifting funding responsibility for teachers’ pensions from the state to local school districts, which will further increase your property taxes.
How will these facts affect your future property taxes and your ability to one day sell your home?
Read our white paper: Property Taxes in Illinois.
District 220 Contract Update
On February 19 the District 220 Board approved a new three-year teachers’ contract that had been approved by union members earlier that day. The contract is retroactive to August 31, 2012. The negotiations began in March 2012. Until the contract is available for public review the District website www.barrington220.org includes a press release and a slide presentation regarding the new contract.
Meanwhile the 220 Board approved the 2012 tax levy in November and compensation actions in December 2012:
- The Board approved a 5% property tax levy increase, expecting the maximum allowable of approximately 3.33% to be realized due to the property tax cap limitation.
- The Superintendent’s employment contract was extended for three years beyond the June 2014 termination date of the prior contract. The 6% annual salary raises through June 2014 were retained, salary for the next year will not change and increases for the last two years will be based on the CPI used for the property tax cap.
- Salary increases for the current school year ranging from 2.6% to 5% were given to administrators and exempt/classified employees.
Library Renovation Project Has Grown To $8.5M — Borrowing Likely
The $5.7 million renovation project first announced in January 2012 has grown to $8.5 million. The renovation was to be paid for from accumulated reserves; however at the new cost level borrowing will apparently be necessary. The new cost was approved at the November 12, 2012 Trustees meeting. At monthly Trustee meetings through October there was no mention of increased costs. In fact at one meeting prior to the October 12 approval of a maximum levy increase for 2012 the Trustees had discussed the possibility of a less than maximum tax levy for 2012. An Estimate Summary for the $8.5 million project is posted on the Library website.
Beta expressed concerns regarding the project and the process as detailed in our April 2012 Newsletter (see Beta website www.betaonline.us), periodic postings on our website and e-mail alerts during the past year. We expressed our concerns to the Trustees at meetings and we wrote a letter to the Trustees in July 2012. The Trustees have listened politely, but have not exhibited any intent to change their approach.
We continue to have the following concerns about the project and the process:
- Apparently the public was not involved in the formulation of the project. A project of this magnitude should solicit public input in the formative stage, in this case long before the January 2012 announcement. The assessment of needs using only internal sources omits the input and insight of taxpayers.
- The practice of accumulating reserves and periodically using them for major projects precludes taxpayers from having a say on whether or not a renovation, building acquisition or other major expenditure will be done.
- At least a portion of the accumulated reserves arose from an additional levy that has been assessed annually for a number of years. The annual audited financial statements for recent years did not include explanation of the magnitude of the reserves nor the reason for the existence of the reserves.
- In the absence of a publicly disclosed justification and plans for future need of any reserves the practice of reserve building should cease.
- Taxpayers should have timely input on major expenditures prior to any commitment by the Library, preferably in the form of a referendum.
Transparency needs significant improvement. The Library does not put financial statements (annual audited or monthly internal) on its website. Meeting agendas are removed from the website once the minutes are posted. As a result, the public website does not contain the information necessary to know the financial status of the Library and the ability to review past meeting agendas is very brief.