Ives cheers 'unique,' 'smart' move to build school without taxing residents
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) on Monday praised the ingenuity behind a Senate bill that would allow a school district to consolidate two of its schools without adding to the taxpayers' burden.
SB1290, presented to the House by Rep. Jerry Lee Long (R-Streator), lets Waltham Community Consolidated School District 185 (WCCSD) increase its debt limit to $9.5 million from $3.8 million to pay for a new school to house its K-6 and seventh to eighth grades.
“This is a very unique way of financing that (WCCSD) superintendent has come up with,” Ives said. “If in the past, you have voted to extend debt limits up to 25-30 years, add to the property tax role, and you vote against this bill? That would be a vote that would not make sense.”
Long said the bill will save taxpayers' money in the long run by ensuring that the WCCSD's debt is tied to an intergovernmental agreement.
“Building a new facility will save the taxpayers nearly $4 million in tax increases [that would] pay for the much-needed repairs on the 50-year-old and 67-year-old buildings,” Long said. “By incorporating House Floor Amendment No. 2, we have made sure that Waltham cannot increase taxes to pay for these debts and have made it contingent upon the three TIFs that they have an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with.”
Ives noted that WCCSD is one of the five most fiscally responsible school districts in Illinois, and the bill is another example of its fiscal aptitude. She asked her colleagues to support the bill.
“If anybody has voted to extended debt limits on other school districts and votes against this very reasonable bill that does not add to the property taxes [in] a district that is one of our top five financially responsible ones, [that] consolidates schools and uses a unique way to use TIFF funds … I just think that people should consider all these things before they vote.”
Echoing Ives' sentiments, Rep. John Cavaletto (R-Salem) also called the bill smart and efficient in how it saves taxpayer money, combines schools and provides for students.
“I think these kids deserve a new school,” Cavaletto said. “You have the revenue to do it. Your consolidation will save money in the long run and give them a good education. I would ask for an 'aye' vote for this gentleman.”
SB1290 passed the House 75-28.
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