This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’
Look, I get it standing up to a school board is tough. After all, they claim they’re doing everything “for the children.” Opposing school funding increases means you’re not going to be too popular. You lose friends. Miss out on parties. You get looks of distain in the car line. Standing up to a school board takes guts.
But that’s exactly what we need right now.
Across the state from DuPage to Metro East, local boards are after more and more of your hard-earned money. And they think their con is bulletproof: “It’s for the children.”
Who can argue with that?
I can. And so should you.
School boards who want to increase your taxes are not brave. They are not magnanimous. They are not doing this for children. They are raising your taxes. They are decimating your home’s value. They are wiping out your greatest investment. All so they can continue their spending.
Just look at Edwardsville. Local property tax spending grew thirty-five percent in ten years, while district enrollment grew just seven percent.
The district is ranked among the most debt-ridden school districts in Illinois.
That debt has taken a toll on home values.
But will they stop? No.
The district is asking taxpayers for another six point nine million dollars and threaten to cut sports, band, and more if voters don’t agree to hike taxes.
But is it really “for the children” when – despite constant and generous spending increases – two-thirds of fourth graders in the state don’t read or perform math at grade level? The truth is K-twelve systems have become third-party administrators to bestow salaries and benefits on adults in the system … namely teachers and administrators.
In the fight against predatory school boards, you are your community’s greatest asset. You are a change agent.
Be relentless. And be prepared. Those who benefit from this failed system are just waiting for us to get tired and get out of their way. You’ve been warned.