District 65 Surplus

How best to share the surplus at District 65

Tax payers in Lake Bluff were offered a fig leaf by District
65 Board of Education (BOE) last Tuesday evening, and did not really present
suitable options for the surpluses, annual and aggregate. To their credit, the BOE,
by the development of some options, has acknowledged surpluses are far in
excess of prudence and necessity, and that the natives are restless.

What is not obvious in the scenarios presented; recognition
that the tax burden of Lake Bluff tax payers has been excessive, and far greater
than actual need for over ten years. Not apparent to the BOE, the annual cost
per student of over $19,000 is grossly excessive and must addressed with
appropriate staff adjustments for enrollment, current and projected.

The plan to gradually diminish the reserve fund to even 50%
fails to acknowledge key points. The proposed benefit will accrue to future tax
payers, and not to those past contributors who paid for the surpluses. An immediate
refund of the excessive fund balances to current tax payers would be a remedy
for the injustice of past levies.  An
immediate reduction in the surplus would also eliminate the temptation to spend
on projects with little worth or return. Excessive surpluses in any public
institution attract an instinct to spend. Even if the current BOE is
self-disciplined not to spend, there are no assurances future boards will be
equally penurious.

Finally, the annual tax rate, if unchanged, will continue to
yield million dollar operating surpluses. If not reduced to at least a break
even basis, fund balances will continue to grow and spending temptations will
remain present.  

Al Boese                                                                                                                                                                                                        Lake
Bluff, IL

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