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You decide: The Suburban Life guide to the D-100 referendums

BERWYN – On March 18, Berwyn voters will decide on whether South Berwyn School District 100 will get an increase in its tax rate as well as $51.5 million in bonds that officials say are urgently needed to not only meet the demands of the future, but demands that have been growing since its last tax increase 27 years ago.

Voters will be deciding on two separate questions and can vote for or against both individually, or together.

Referendum: School District 100, Increase the Limiting Rate

School District 100 is asking voters to allow them to increase the limiting rate by 1.4 percent. Increasing limiting tax rate will raise about $6,000,000 of operating revenue per year for D-100.

What does that mean for taxpayers? 

The average cost to the owner of a home with an equalized assessed value of $150,000 is $41 per month or $491 per year.

What will that money pay for and why?

1. Hire more teachers:

According to D-100, classes sizes need to be reduced. The approval of the bond referendum would allow the school to build more classrooms. To fill those classrooms and increase the ratio of teachers to students, the school would have to hire more teachers. The limiting rate increase would pay for those new hires.

The district wants to hire 17 new teachers to staff the new classrooms, provide reading intervention to needy students, continue their co-teaching model and accommodate a rising enrollment of 9 percent annually. Estimated cost: $1,000,000.

2. Allow D-100 to give teachers raises:

According to the district, teachers in D-100 are paid 20 percent less than the state average. District administrative staff is paid 60 percent less than the state average. Because of this, the district says it has a 27 percent higher turnover rate of teachers than the state average. If voters approve the limiting rate increase, the district says it will be able to give raises to teachers and administrators to keep good teachers in D-100. Estimated cost: $1,000,000

3. Further teacher education and training:

If the limiting rate increase referendum is approved, the district said it will spend some of that money on additional education for teachers, to make the better teachers and to be able to successfully teach their students for the 21 century. The district said it will spend the money on increased professional development. Estimated cost: $500,000 to $700,000.

4. Balance the district's budget:

If voters approve the limiting rate increase, the district said it will be able to balance its budget. The district predicts it will run a $4.2 million deficit in 2014-15 if the referendum is not approved. Balancing the budget would allow the district to operate without cuts to their current educational and extracurricular programs. The district said that deficit can be avoided with the additional money the rate increase would provide.

Referendum: Approve $51.5 million in bonds to pay for district improvements

In addition to asking voters to allow the district to increase the limiting tax rate, District 100 is also asking voters to approve the district taking on $51.5 million in bonds to pay for improvements and upgrades at district schools.

According to district officials, these improvements are needed to pay for the building of more classrooms to reduce class sizes, to building a dedicated lunch room area and to pay for upgrades and/or the replacement of HVAC systems, plumbing and other infrustructure improvements.

What does that mean for taxpayers?

The average cost to the owner of a home with an equalized assessed value of $150,000 is $27 per month or $326 per year.

What will that money pay for and why?

1. Building more classrooms:

D-100 officials said building 20 more classrooms will help the district reduce class sizes at its schools from 28 student to 20 students and eliminate the need for teachers to share classrooms and conduct lessons in common areas like hallways and stairwells. It would also eliminate overcrowding in 5 of 6 elementary schools, which was caused by a 21 percent increase in enrollment over the past 10 years.

More classroom are also needed, because according to the district, enrollment is expected to continue to increase by 9 percent over the next 10 years. More classrooms would also eliminate the need for forcing children to attend other schools when there’s no more room in their neighborhood school.

2. Build dedicated lunchrooms:

According to the district, dedicated lunchrooms are needed at allschools in D-100 to avoid the need to serve lunch in school gymnasiums, which causes shorter lunch times for students. According to district offiicals, by the time all groups of student are lined up to eat, the last group only has seven minutes for complete their lunch.

3. Ensure working heat, air conditioning and plumbing in all schools:

According to the district, infrastructure improvements are essential to maintaining their buildings and are long needed. Boilers at several buildings are more than ## years old. According to district officials, classrooms at several schools were often too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, which required students to keep their coats on during class.

How does D-100 compare to other schools in Illinois?

1. D-100 class sizes are 19 percent higher than state average

2. Teacher pay at D-100 schools is 20 percent lower than state average

3. Teacher turnover in D-100 schools is 27 percent higher than the state average

4. Administrative staff is paid 60 percent less than state average

5. Per pupil spending 14 percent lower than state average

6. 1 of 3 students not meeting state expectations this year

How does D-100 compare on spending on students?

The chart below shows how much local taxpayers and the state pay per student in comparible area school districts for their education.

Amount per student from state // Amount per student from taxpayers in School District 100 /// Total per student spending:

La Grange D-105: $1,179 // $6,678 /// $7,857

Oak Park D-97: $2,173 // $5,586 /// $7759

Riverside D-96: $832 // $6,731 /// $7,563

La Grange D-102: $1,388 // $5,916 /// $7,304

Lyons D-103: $1,821 // $4,681 /// $6,502

Berwyn D-100: $3,779 // $2,422 /// $6,201

Brookfield D-95 $1,205 // $4,999 /// $6,024

North Berwyn D-98: $4,424 // $1,396 /// $5,820

Cicero D-99: $4,1087 // $1,046 /// $5,233

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