Reduce the spending
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Updated: January 14, 2013 2:36PM
Taxpayers in Lake Bluff were offered a fig leaf by the District 65 Board of Education earlier this month, which 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 more than 10 years. Not apparent to the BOE, the annual cost per student of more than $19,000 is grossly excessive and must be addressed with appropriate staff adjustments for enrollment — current and projected.
The plan to gradually diminish the reserve fund to even 50 percent fails to acknowledge key points. The proposed benefit will accrue to future taxpayers, and not to those past contributors who paid for the surpluses. An immediate refund of the excessive fund balances to current taxpayers would be a remedy for the injustice of past levies.
An immediate reduction in the surplus also would eliminate the temptation to spend on projects with little worth or return. Excessive surpluses in any public institution attract an instinct to spend.
Finally, the annual tax rate, if unchanged, will continue to yield million-dollar operating surpluses. If not reduced at least to a break-even basis, fund balances will continue to grow and spending temptations will remain.