The arguments I’ve heard about the RB referendum have brought to mind an exercise I went through in a math class years ago. Our teacher would have us prove both sides of an issue using the same raw data.
In this case, I’ve heard that enrollment at RB is up 32 percent in the last 10 years (but enrollment has actually gone down from 2007).
I’ve heard that teachers are sacrificing by giving up their cost of living raise (but most still get their time step increases and all get 15 paid holidays, four weeks vacation after six years, health coverage for a few hundred dollars a year, and an unbelievable retirement plan).
I’ve heard about markedly improved test scores and the highest ACT scores in 15 years (but the Illinois Report Card says RB failed to make adequate yearly progress in all areas in 2010 and only about 30 percent of tested students reached ACT college level readiness scores in all four areas tested).
I’ve heard that for many homeowners the tax increase will be less than a daily cup of coffee (but the increase is over $4.5 million a year, which means that over 20 years it will cost the taxpayer more than the building renovation).
I’ve heard that good schools increase property values (but I’ve seen comments from realtors about sales disappearing when buyers see the property taxes). I could go on.
With these and many other conflicting statistics, how does a concerned taxpayer make the critical yes/no decision on April 5? In these tough economic times, the tax increase is financially painful to all.
To make a decision I’ve considered the amount of that financial pain being shared. It certainly does not seem like it is being shared equally. In over 40 years I have never voted against an educational referendum. I have decided this will be my first no.
I hope the new board, the administration and the teachers can agree on a long-range plan that fairly shares the “pain” and makes RB greater. They then may have my yes vote once again.