After reading letters objecting to the Village of River Forest discontinuing its $100,000-a-year practice of providing crossing guards to local schools, it’s time to put some facts on the table. Writers complain that they are heavily taxed — and we are — and that the village should provide crossing guards at taxpayer expense — even to the parochial schools.

Let’s get beyond rhetoric and examine the facts. Look at the itemization on the second installment of your 2008 property tax bill. Just 11 percent of our property taxes go to the seriously underfunded and understaffed Village of River Forest. More than 70 percent of our property taxes go to public school districts 90 and 200 — you don’t get such wonderful public schools without paying for them.

Over the past 10 years, the village has spent $1 million on crossing guards — an expense that the schools should have been paying, and one of the misguided practices of the past that put River Forest into a serious financial bind that requires us voters to approve a small increase in the sales tax on Nov. 2. For all the details on River Forest’s financial situation, visit www.riverforestmatters.com, where you can download the thorough report of the village’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Village Finances.

I realize that parents who send their children to parochial schools have taken on an extra expense to give their children additional religious education even though they have superb public schools available to them. Aside from the constitutional separation of church and state, those households that choose to send their children to parochial schools have no legitimate expectation for the Village of River Forest to pay for their crossing guards or their equipment.

But above all else, remember that it’s not the Village of River Forest that is responsible for our high property tax bills. It’s districts 90 and 200 that account for 70 percent of our property tax bills. And it’s districts 90 and 200 that should have always footed the bill for their crossing guards. It’s their responsibility.

Daniel Lauber
River Forest

Join the discussion on social media!