As a proud Riverside-Brookfield parent and outside educator, I have been learning as much as I can about the upcoming referendum, which goes to vote on April 5. As an active participant in our schools and community, I acquired information through publications, emails, websites and just talking with other parents.

When I started to share information with others, I realized that few citizens knew much about RB High School, the referendum and why it is so critical to our community. I, like you, strive to be as informed as I can in these difficult economic times, especially when it comes to raising our taxes.

Did you know that …

RB High School is 85-percent reliant on local revenue from property taxes? Schools in Illinois are not adequately funded by property tax and state revenues. However, the government requires public schools to provide millions of dollars worth of programs that it does not fund.

Enrollment has risen 50 percent in the past 10 years and is projected to keep rising while staffing levels have decreased over the past three years? Administrators have worked hard to reduce variable expenses and renegotiate contracts with suppliers.

RB students are developing leadership skills and strong character attributes through the exceptional curriculum they are offered, the extracurricular programs that they are involved in and in their community service? Doesn’t that make you proud? We can’t afford to jeopardize critical opportunities for these young adults who are so proud of their school and of their individual accomplishments.

RB teachers are receiving fair market compensation for their industry? Seventy-six percent of the professional staff holds a master’s degree or higher, which in turn means they are high-quality teachers who are raising our students’ performance and success rates, even with rising enrollment and limited budgets for supplies, textbooks, technology, equipment and staff development.

Having a high-performing, strong high school in our community raises our property values and provides citizens with a safer, more stable environment?

Please learn much, much more on the website designed to inform you and reassure you that in order to maintain our great community and high school a referendum is needed. It’s at A property tax calculator is even provided so you can see how little the referendum would increase your taxes.

Education pays everyone back. Support the leaders of tomorrow and our community today. Become an informed citizen before you make a decision. Then, vote yes on April 5. You will be proud to say you did.

Diane Hettasch

Ed. Note: According to the Illinois State Board of Education’s school report cards for Riverside-Brookfield High School, enrollment has increased from 1,109 students in 2000 to 1,464 students in 2010, an increase of 32 percent.