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THE DISTRICT 15 BOND CONTROVERSY

The bond referendum was rejected by voters: 67% NO, 33% YES
For more information and news visit Citizens for Accountability in D15

Vote NO on November 2, 2010

Shall the Board of Education of Palatine Community Consolidated School District Number 15, Cook County, Illinois be authorized to issue $27,000,000 bonds for a working cash fund as provided for by Article 20 of the School Code? NO
  Visit Citizens for Accountability in D15
Citizens for Accountability in D15

For up-to-the-minute news see twitter.com/d15spotlight

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What's the bottom line on the bond referendum?

District 15 doesn't need the money...

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District 15 Doesn't Need the Money

October 15, 2010

What's the bottom line on the bond referendum? District 15 doesn't need the money...

... District 15 already has excess reserves of $14.5 million more than its targeted level.

If the Board decides that some of the $16 million project list is urgent and important there is more than enough money available to approve urgent projects now.

... Continue reading District 15 doesn't need the money


Your Share of the Tax Increase

September 29, 2010

The District 15 spin is that the $27 million bond referendum will cost you only $15/year. Your real cost is far higher.

Housing costs will increase for both homeowners and renters if voters approve the $27 million bond referendum.

For renters it's impossible to know how much other than to understand that property owners will raise your rent to pass on property tax increases.

For homeowners the real cost of the tax increase is much higher than District 15 says. District 15 says your cost will be only $15/year for a $220,000 home. Really!?!

... Continue reading Your Share of the Tax Increase


District 15's Budget Crisis

September 23, 2010

A large budget deficit is forecasted over the next several years. But the District 15 Board has no plan to fix this problem. Instead they want to raise taxes now and balance the budget later.

District 15 published a Five-Year Projection dated March 15, 2010, that shows $55 million of deficits. Over six months later there is no visible action nor plan by the Board to address this crisis.

Instead District 15 will be raising taxes if you vote Yes on the November 2 bond referendum. They're trying to make you think it isn't a big increase, but this tax increase is only the tip of the iceberg.

... Continue reading District 15's Budget Crisis


History of the bond controversy

March 10, 2010: Board voted 4-3 to initiate the legal steps required to issue "non-referendum" bonds. Non-referendum bonds are bonds that don't require voter approval. See video of board meeting related to bonds. The original $27 million bond proposal contemplated $10 million for a Working Cash Fund (see article about District 15 Cash Management) and $17 million for Capital Projects.

April 1: District 15 administration posted a proposed list of capital projects totalling $17,280,012. This list wasn't prioritized and also wasn't discussed by the board until after the 30 day deadline for putting the bond question on the ballot. See comments on the project list by District 15 board member Sue Quinn.

April 5: An Introduction to the Bond Controversy was published to give the public some background on what led to the petition drive. Also on this date the District 15 bond proposal was discussed at the Village of Palatine Council Meeting (see meeting video).

April 12: Deadline for public to submit petitions to put the bond question on the November ballot. A total of 7,508 petition signatures were submitted. Also see April 12 Daily Herald article 7,508 voters sign petition blocking Palatine Dist. 15's $27 mil loan.

April 14: Formal public hearing on the bond issue. About 13 people addressed the board about their concerns about the bond proposal. The Board discussed some near term capital projects, approved a revised 2009-10 budget and discussed but didn't reach any conclusions on next steps for capital projects and bond funding. See Notes from the District 15 School Board Meeting for April 14, 2010 at Spotlight on the Board.

April 19: Two people filed a challenge to the petitions. More information at Daily Herald Petition to put District 15 bond sale on ballot questioned and earlier Triblocal.com article Challenge deadline on District 15 petition looms.

Hidden Hill strange?April 20-25: The petition team reviewed the objections and found that most were not valid. See the Hidden Hill(s) story and a blog post by Mary Vanek about the petition challenges.

April 26: Initial District 15 Electoral Board meeting held to start review of petition challenge. The review board consists of District 15 board President Gerald Chapman, Secretary June Becker and member Timothy Millar. For more see Daily Herald Dist. 15 petitions now in hands of Cook County clerk.

May 3-5: Records were reviewed at the Cook County Clerk offices in Chicago. Of the 1775 signature objections, the Clerk agreed with 835 objections and rejected 940 objections. This left a surplus of 324 signatures over the 6339 required to put the bond question on the ballot in November. For more see Daily Herald Review of 7,500 signatures on Distrct 15 petition is complete.

May 8-18: The petition team collected over 100 affidavits from voters whose signatures were challenged.

May 19: The petition objectors announced that they would not continue the petition signature, circulator and notary challenges. However, there were some legal issues to resolve at a next hearing. For more see Triblocal.com District 15 petition challengers drop signature objection and Daily Herald Electoral board likely to rule on District 15 petition next week.

June 1: The petition objectors announced that they are withdrawing their objection to the petitions. For more see Daily Herald Objection dropped to Dist. 15 petitions and Triblocal.com District 15 petition objectors drop challenge.

June 3: A District 15 Electoral Board hearing was held June 3rd and the objectors' motion to withdraw their challenge was granted.

August 18: The District 15 board met and decided not to rescind the March 10th bond resolution. Various reasons were mentioned but most board members didn't clearly state their reasons why they decided to proceed with the November 2 bond referendum. Also, a budget was approved for the 2010-11 school year.

September 15: At the September 15 board meeting, Interim Superintendent Scott Thompson presented his recommended course of action if voters approve the referendum. See September 15 Board Briefs for more information. Unfortunately Mr. Thompson did not present a recommendation for the "if voters don't approve" scenario so it remains unclear what the District intends to do in this case. Also, the Board did not take action on the "if voters approve" recommendation and made no commitment on what they would do with the $27 million bonding authority that would be over and above their non-referendum bonding authority. Finally, the Board Briefs omitted concerns expressed by board members about the projects and spun some key facts about the urgency of the projects (e.g., omitting the statement "our buildings are not unsafe at this time" and vaguely saying capital improvement needs "must be addressed in the near future" - the dialogue with Craig Phillips during the meeting indicated that the appropriate timeframe was a few years). Some of the board member concerns included issuing 20-year bonds to fund projects with 7-10 year useful lives and not reducing the bond amount to reflect other capital project funding sources.

October 13: At the October 13 board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Auxiliary Services Michael Adamczyk presented a new five-year forecast that showed $25 million in deficits over five years. There were several questions about the new forecast model including: (a) whether the model reflected current board policies such as for classroom sizes, (b) whether a conservative assumption about salary increases should be made rather than the 0% base increase assumed after the current contract ends, and (c) what are the main differences between the March forecast that showed $55 million in deficits and the new forecast that shows $25 million in deficits.


 
NEWS

2-Nov-2010: Voters rejected the bond referendum 67% NO, 33% YES.

25-Oct-2010: Daily Herald says No on District 15 bond issue

15-Oct-2010: Bond referendum article District 15 doesn't need the money posted

29-Sep-2010: Bond referendum article Your Share of the Tax Increase posted

23-Sep-2010: Bond referendum article District 15's Budget Crisis posted

EVENTS

Wed, November 10 7:00 pm
Walter R. Sundling Jr High

Regular Board Meeting

   - Agenda (not yet available)

See also past events...

NEWS ARTICLES

3-Nov-2010: PalatinePatch District 15 Voters Just Say No

3-Nov-2010: Mary Vanek blog post District 15 bond referendum defeated by 2:1 margin

3-Nov-2010: PalatinePatch D-15 Looks Forward After Referendum Defeat

3-Nov-2010: Daily Herald Palatine Dist. 15 bond sale goes down

   - Reader comments

2-Nov-2010: TribLocal Palatine District 15 shoots down bonds

1-Nov-2010: TribLocal Palatine Residents push bond issue to ballot

27-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch Vote No to Move District 15 Forward

25-Oct-2010: Daily Herald editorial No on District 15 bond issue

   - Reader comments

25-Oct-2010: Daily Herald letter to the editor Dist. 15's financial house not in order

   - Reader comments

25-Oct-2010: Daily Herald letter to the editor Don't add to D15's debt; vote no on ref

   - Reader comments

22-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch D-15 Citizens Group Queries School Officials

22-Oct-2010: Mary Vanek blog post Some Highlights of Last Night's Public Meeting

19-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch Why D-15's Financial Outlook Changed Dramatically

17-Oct-2010: Daily Herald letter to the editor D15 hasn't made its case for bond sale

   - Reader comments

14-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch A Matter of Trust in District 15

14-Oct-2010: Daily Herald Dist. 15 financial outlook suddenly brighter?

   - Reader comments

14-Oct-2010: Mary Vanek blog post Getting "Culverized" with Scott Thompson

13-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch D-15 to Receive New Financial Projections

12-Oct-2010: Daily Herald District 15 leader's forum appearance sparks debate

   - Reader comments

11-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch A Question About Pensions

10-Oct-2010: Daily Herald letter to the editor There'll never be enough money

   - Reader comments

8-Oct-2010: Mary Vanek blog post Could this be the real reason that Lukich left District 15?

7-Oct-2010: Mary Vanek blog post Superintendent Plans Bond Talk at Plum Grove Jr. High

6-Oct-2010: PalatinePatch Why I Circulated the D-15 Bond Petition

4-Oct-2010: Daily Herald letter to the editor Dist. 15 bond issue never thought out properly

   - Reader comments

27-Sep-2010: Daily Herald letter to the editor No tax hike for Dist. 15 until they get a plan

   - Reader comments

20-Sep-2010: Mary Vanek blog post Vote No in November on the District 15 Bond Issue

20-Sep-2010: Daily Herald Dist. 15 leader supports modified loan

   - Reader comments

17-Sep-2010: PalatinePatch Palatine's D-15 Grapples with Referendum Issue

See also older news articles...

LINKS

Citizens for Accountability in D15 (also at Facebook D15Citizens)
Red balloons - symbol of the petition drive... The group that led the petition drive established Citizens for Accountability in D15. See their thank-you to petition circulators.

District 15 School Board Watcher

Twitter d15spotlight

Spotlight on the Board

Timothy Millar - Bond Information

District 15 Financial Documents