To the Editor:
Richard Skoda, today is your day. The longtime Hinsdale High School District 86 Board member could hardly contain his enthusiasm as he voiced his “second” to the motion to freeze this year’s district tax levy, not even adjusting for the 1.7 percent CPI increase. He offered a lengthy discourse, reading a “taxpayer’s letter” decrying taxes/fees of all types and at all levels of government. Joined by the three newly elected board members, Skoda’s position prevailed.
We too are taxpayers. We, however, distinguish among taxes, rather than asserting as an article of faith a singular position. Voting a district levy freeze as an expression of philosophy about taxation, based upon assumptions about future expenditures containment that includes amazing blitheness about the local impact of anticipated pension cost-shifting from the state, appears most unwise. What does seem clear enough: Skoda, the self-described lifelong “educator” (whom we suppose enjoys a generous teacher pension) and his allies intend to cap expenditures by restructuring teacher salaries and benefits. In speaking of current teacher health benefits, one board member disdainfully contrasted these with those of the “real world.” We ourselves have been scrutinized more than once by a board member and by a supporter of the board’s levy decision, with the question “Are you a teacher?”
We are not teachers. Rather, we are community members who see a tight correlate between attracting and retaining an excellent faculty, which is not fungible, and fair open-minded negotiation with that faculty that is not agenda-driven.
J. Richard Spatafora and Catherine A. Kinney