A desperate plea for more district 89 school funding

Mikayla Jacoby, Writer for Lenses

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    In early November of this year, the Consolidated Community School District 89 is placing a request for a referendum— a tax increase to support educational funding on the midterm ballot. The district has not ordered a referendum since 1986, and although a referendum is a necessity to keep District 89 as the high-level school system that it is, tax payers are unwilling to contribute their funds.

    School populations in the district have been increasing in recent years: 16.9% more students enrolled since 2012, and populations are expected to grow by as much as 10% in the next three years, according to a statement made on the district website. More money is needed from taxpayers to continue to fund programs that the school currently runs, such as music programs, physical education and the Challenge program. Without this tax increase, the school district 89 will be forced to drop or limit these programs, interfering with the educational success of the children who attend these schools.

    These programs enrich young children’s educations, as well as their quality of life. Music education accelerates brain growth and helps exercise areas of the brain that use math skills and logic. Physical education teaches children how to live healthy lifestyles and prevents childhood obesity, diabetes, heart disease and premature death. The Challenge program prepares and inspires children to take STEM subjects and pursue future careers by teaching subjects like algebra, geometry, biology, computer science and engineering at a young age. The district reports that the additional programs that will suffer without more funds are social work services, the library staff and funding and a full-day kindergarten program. A total of $1.2 million in cuts will be needed if the referendum does not pass. Without more money, these priceless programs will be forced out of existence as the school will be unable to support them along with the expected heavy influx of students that are coming the district’s way. Future students will miss out on the opportunity to enjoy these important and impressive opportunities.

    Despite the low tax increase that the district is asking for, local taxpayers are appalled by the suggestion. According to the district, the tax increase will only be an additional $133 in taxes for each $100,000 of home value. For example, someone living in a house worth $300,000 will need to pay an additional $399 per year to support the local schools. This is a small price to ask for as someone who can afford to live in a $300,000 house should theoretically be able to pay a small sum of $33.25 per month to support the future generation’s education. Additionally, home value is built up based on the value of the local area. If the surrounding schools are inadequate schools, home values in Glen Ellyn will drop. The logical thing to do would be for taxpayers to invest their tax money in their schools to keep their high home values or risk losing on their real estate investments that are their homes in the future. Still, local taxpayers are stubbornly opposing any tax increases as they feel that Glen Ellyn and the surrounding area is too expensive to live in already.

    To conclude, the referendum to increase funding for District 89 must pass. It not only must pass for the next generation’s sake, as without it they will suffer larger class sizes and fewer enriching extracurriculars, but for every citizens of Glen Ellyn’s sake as well, to protect their investments. The idea that reduced taxes will save money is only a fallacy as money will be lost with decreasing property values. If the people of Glen Ellyn want to continue to pride themselves in living in such an affluent and educationally successful area, then they must provide the necessary funding to keep Glen Ellyn the city that it is today.