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Letter: School District 308, From Bad to Worse

Send your letter to the editor to steven.jack@patch.com

I just received my property tax bill in the mail, with another $549 dollars going to this year.

Last year the increase was $800. This is in the worst economy in over 80 years.  There is a disconnect between the taxpayer and those providing the services.  No matter how many times we politely ask that the district refrain from increasing tax rates, they manage to ignore these requests and do whatever they want, they claim they need the money. Who doesn’t?  

Oswego residents were already paying one of the highest property tax rates anywhere in the United States.  Aside from employment in the local government arena, there are very few good paying jobs here in Kendall County. 

Many of us had hoped that the new SD 308 board members would provide some relief, but it is not to be.  Huge pay increases for administrators is now the direction the board has chosen. 

Oswego school district is the black hole of taxpayer funds, the money is sucked in, but very little of value comes from it.  It is an overpaid, underperforming, dysfunctional bureaucracy unworthy of community support or community pride. 

The school district is the owner of all property and we taxpayers are simply slaves working to ensure that others have lifetime pensions, health care and COLA increases while we enjoy none of these benefits for our own families.

I think the tax cap that 80 percent of us voted for is an illusion.  What cap?  How can the tax rates go from 5.08 to 6.657 over two years if there is a tax cap?  That is over a 31.5 percent increase when the rates were not to exceed 5 percent or the CPI, whichever is less.  There is NO tax cap!

Sure education is important, but it is not more important than the roof over the heads of our children or the food we put on the table.  I would happily vote to completely eliminate the entire school district if given the chance. 

Privatization is starting to look real good to me, and I do not know why we would not consider it given the financial mismanagement that has led to the highest property tax rates in the country.  How could this be any worse than what we have now?

We attempted to place a new board in power that we thought would attempt to start to lower the costs.  Clearly they are either incompetent or simply have no clue; either way they are failing miserably at that task.

The choice is becoming clear; it’s either us or it’s them in this community.  Many have given up and have left or are planning to leave the area soon, with the smartest of these realizing there is no future in living anywhere in Illinois.

Collectively, the school districts have single-handedly bankrupted the state with their early retirements, pensions and health benefits.  They have literally bitten off the hand that feeds them. 

The reforms at the state level represent much too little, way too late.  Illinois is going bankrupt, it’s that simple and as the really productive people mass exodus this state, the situation will only get worse. 

Somewhere we need to draw a line in the sand, no exceptions and no loopholes.  The schools have totally abused their power to tax, so that power must be taken away.  They have proven over and over that they are neither competent nor deserving of such power. 

In some states school budgets must be approved by the taxpayer, how many of you would approve of what they are doing now?  It’s time for major changes with privatization being the best option.  Get rid of the whole thing and everyone in it and start over.  This is our only hope of restoring private property rights; rights guaranteed in the Constitution but taken away by the tax and spends socialists currently running our school systems.

Greg O’Neil, Oswego

ayar May 14, 2012 at 03:47 PM
@Oswegoraised, (1) No third high school - let's get to that for a second. In a perfect world [not having to pay through the nose for it] it's not a bad idea to have one. But we simply can't afford it. (2) Walsh, Lightfoot, and Swanson - what about the others ? tell me, did you think outsourcing our busing [putting locals out of work] is a good idea? I heard a rumor that we're getting our Lawns mowed, etc. not by staff but by $private$ $contract$ ? how about snow blowing ? a lot of smaller towns usually have the coffee-drinking guy in the flannel shirt do a ton of that sort of thing, what's wrong that our Maintenance staff can't do it ? can we come to an arrangement with LeClerc and the township to help with these chores ? these are things that have occurred under the *old* guard, not all the problems happening are with the new board. How did the old guard vote in terms of these "raises" to new hires ? did they also raise the bar "back in the day" ? if so, why ? that's the pain of having to be objective. I try to remember that these guys aren't getting paid to do this, they do this out of their own personal need to make things better, which I respect. If you want to look for the guy in the black hat and boots, look to the one who raises the multiplyer - looks like people noticed already: http://oswego.patch.com/blog_posts/kendall-county-property-tax-revolt
Oswegoraised May 14, 2012 at 04:17 PM
1) I agree. Can't afford it. 2) I hear what you're saying, but the new was elected in to fix the old. I went through this school system when it was one of the best. That's what brought people here. More house for the money, lower taxes, and good school district. Not to mention the home town atmosphere. We all have our opinions on what happened to the middle two, but we can all agree something needs to be done. I read the article you supplied the link to and will be attending. Thank you for that information.
Greg O'Neil May 14, 2012 at 04:28 PM
When I wrote this letter I knew very well that EVERYONE wouldn't like it, after all there are a bunch of freeloaders getting their services for a fraction that they cost others. They think thats fair!!! My address in no way represents "my fair share" of the tax burden. Its a flawed system that does more harm to people than good. I am glad that the topic elicited so much debate. I am really only hoping to appeal to 51% OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL BE VOTING IN FUTURE ELECTIONS!!! BTW I'll be seeing many of you at Mark Johnson's taxpayer revolt on June 1, way to go Mark.
Mike N May 15, 2012 at 07:49 PM
"Salary that is among the lowest for college educated professionals" Um... last i checked you only work about 8 months out of the year... So your salary is very comparable.....
ayar May 17, 2012 at 08:48 PM
@Judy: sorry to burst that bubble, but Bill Gates is a JOB KILLER in the USA [his old "job bidding" for H1B's and L-1's are still on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BIvffAHsJs , getting rid of people who are trying to make a living wage instead hiring "you want fries with that" wages on the other side of the world. Next, let's read into your comment - quote -"They also have lower social and discipline issues because they can actually throw out these who don't follow the rules". First off, problem kids still can be expelled, and 308 has indeed on occasion done this, and second, where does it stop with no rules or "stopgaps", "sorry, sir/maam, your special needs kid just doesn't cut it - I hear they're hiring at McDonalds and need a janitor". Sorry,Judy, many don't believe in that sort of "garbage" educating. People of all types can do amazing things given the chance. And they deserve that chance.

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