Letters to the Editor 11/7/13
I have been following with interest the variety of proposed tax increases to benefit School District 186. I should begin by acknowledging that a strong school system is paramount to a great community. The students we turn out of the system today are our community leaders of tomorrow.
I started researching some of the financials of District 186 and must say I was shocked by some of the findings. Specifically, when I found out what a parent must pay to send a child to a District 186 school. After perusing the district website, I called the school board office to verify that what I was reading was in fact correct.
Student enrollment fees range from $45 for grade school to $55 for high school, and both require a $35 technology fee. So, for less than $100, a child can be enrolled in a District 186 school. Less than the cost of a week’s day care, cellphone for a month, gym membership, a couple tanks of gas in most vehicles, a pair of fancy tennis shoes or cable TV.
I have had dialogue with the “Invest in 186” Facebook group and suggested that we start by looking at this investment by those using the resources. Before we ask for a tax referendum which impacts those paying real estate taxes who may or may not directly use the system, or a sales tax hike which will not only impact some who do not directly use the resources but also effect visitors to our city, that we look at increasing these student fees as a starting point. This would be a much more fair process as it directly affects those who are utilizing the resources of the District 186 school system.
I do not recommend that this be a replacement for the proposed real estate tax increase, but as an addition to that proposed hike. This puts more “skin” in the game by those who are utilizing the resources and could lessen the burden on many senior citizens and those who can less afford to have their property taxes continue to rise. If we raise additional monies from increased student fees, perhaps a smaller property tax hike could be presented.
Student fees of $200 to $300 would still be very affordable if spread over a 12-month period. For those who currently cannot afford to pay the current student fees, they obviously would also not be able to afford expanded fees, so there would be no financial harm to them by having additional financial burden.
Increasing these fees would be a great public relations tool for the “Invest in 186” group. I personally could not support additional taxation via property tax increases or sales tax increases without first seeing further investment from parents of the children using the system resources.
I want to personally thank Bruce Rushton on behalf of Anakin Credit and the Credit family. (“Guilty plea due in 2008 death,” Oct. 31.) Thank you so much for your diligence and professionalism in making my nephew’s name and tragic story heard from all the Credit family. Thank you. God bless and share a smile ….