On April 27, the District 200 school board voted unanimously to fund Imagine Project 2 with non-referendum debt certificates over twenty years. Reporting to the board, the Community Finance Committee (CFC) twice told the Board that debt certificates should be limited to 5 years and that funding for Project 2 should go to referendum. Several members of the CFC have actual bona fides in finance, including school funding. Why did the board choose to ignore the CFC?

In a letter published in this paper on May 2, board President Tom Cofsky said that “some community members, most of whom are ardently opposed to the pool project in general …” This is absolutely false. The goal has always been a reasonable-size pool, not the oversized pool of the 2016 referendum nor the slightly smaller pool in Project 2. The board’s resistance to offer a pool that fits the footprint of this school has been a primary contributor to the delay in providing facilities improvement.

Cofsky wrote that is Illinois tax cap is 5% or CPI, whichever is less. From 2005 through 2017 spending increased by 3.7% while CPI was 2.1%. Twelve years without discipline, but now we have discipline? Why did D200 not reduce spending to match CPI during that time frame?

Cofsky also wrote that D200 is getting its financial house in order by doing the following: “Removing overly conservative assumptions that presumed worse-case scenarios.” Who defined “overly conservative”? What reasoning was used to come to that conclusion? What is D200’s plan for “worse-case scenarios”?

Also, “becoming disciplined with staffing recommendations, using the state’s Evidence-Based Funding model to help ensure that any new recommendations don’t drive up the district’s overall expenditures.” What gets cut to prevent driving up, overall expenditures?

Lack of action by previous boards going back decades is an emergency created by them. Now D200 wants the taxpayers to pay for the mistakes of the boards.

D200 gets an F on this project. It should be redone immediately.

Marty Bernstein
Oak Park

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