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District 308 Adopts 2012 Tentative Levy with 4.9 Percent Increase

Assistant superintendent Paul O’Malley said actual amount is expected to be reduced through the County clerk.

The Oswego District 308 school board voted 6-0 in favor of adopting the 2012 tentative levy with a 4.98 percent increase.

Assistant superintendent Paul O’Malley said this levy is just a proposal that must still be approved by the County clerk. He said the clerk is expected to reduce the proposal from the suggested 4.98 percent to near 3.1 percent.

“The reason we levy higher is there could be new property,” said O’Malley. “If we fail to capture that new property, those new obligations will fall on the current taxpayer.”

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For example, O’Malley provided a home assessed at $300,000 and said under the new levy there would be an increase of about $8 a month, or about $90 a year. A home assessed at $100,00 would see an increase of about $2.50 a month, or about $30 a year.

“We have no control over assessed evaluation,” O’Malley added.

Many residents turned out to ask the board to consider the 20 percent tax levy referendum that 71 percent of voters asked for on election day.

“We’re spending lots of money on wonderful buildings and wonderful things,” said Oswego resident Cynthia Rook.  “But what’s important here are the kids.” She continued that everyone is facing a hard financial time and residents are asking for cuts. “It has to happen. It can happen.”

Gregory O’Neil, a member of the Kendall County Tax Revolt, said a segment of the population can’t afford to live in Oswego.

“It’s not that we don’t want to have a world class system,” O’Neil said. “We just can’t afford it.”

Superintendent Matthew Wendt reminded the board and public that the district started their 2013 budget with a deficit of over $7 million that was brought down to $5.5 million in the first draft to the public.

Through cuts the budget was approved with a $2.6 million deficit.

“I’d like to be so bold to say this increase will take care of the shortfall,” Wendt said.

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Kevin November 29, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Let's check the math. Assuming the 308 increase is reduced from 4.98 percent to 3.1 percent by the Kendall County clerk, the rate for Oswego township would then go from 6.65728% to 6.86366%. So for a $300,000 house with only an owner occupied $6,000 exemption, the 308 amount would go from $6,258 last year to $6,452, an increase of $194. Where is the only $90 a year number coming from? Even with a significant reduction in the example home's assessed value from last year and additional exemptions, I don't see how the increase is only $90 under the proposed levy.
ayar November 29, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Why did we need on-staff Construction Management again? I thought those projects could be handled on a per-project basis with an on-site third party consultant ? it would have saved thousands in salary and retirement funds.
ayar November 29, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I think a lot of the heat to "reform pensions" downstate came from the fact that the till was pulled from one too many times, and they realized they couldn't pay it all back, so they blame the "greedy" teachers [blame the goose for the egg?]
Supporttheteachers November 29, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Support the teachers, not the idiot board members. they want to pay the teachers less while paying themselves more. take away the benefits and buy new furniture for our awful new superintendent. GO TEACHERS!!!
Ron November 29, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Perhaps I would support the teachers if you actually make your required 9.4% contribution to TRS.
Reality November 29, 2012 at 06:00 AM
So you are asking for a 9.4% decrease in teacher compensation. And trying to say it in a way that makes it seem like teachers are part of some scam. But for some reason you refuse to phrase it in a way that shows you are asking for a 9.4% decrease in teacher compensation. Once again, the districts (comparable to 308) who do not pick up the 9.4% offset this by offering base salaries that are higher to cover the difference (and allow teachers to send in the check to TRS out base salary instead of having the board send the check directly).
Reality November 29, 2012 at 06:46 AM
Ron...end of career raises are already capped by law. If that is your reasoning for needing to push pensions down to the local level than why not just cap the raises at a smaller amount (maybe 2% or 3%)? Salary raises are a small part of the reason the pensions are so underfunded. The largest reason is the failure of the state to put in the actuarially recommended amount over 40+ years. If you would like more statistics/figures to support this just let me know. Illinois already is ranked 48th out of 50 states in the amount of education funding schools receive from the state. This means that an inordinate amount of school funding is already from local property taxes. Pushing the pensions down to local levels will only compound this problem and cause local property taxes to rise even more. The state negotiated and designed the pension system and now that they have failed to fund it properly over 40+ years they are passing the buck.
Reality November 29, 2012 at 07:32 AM
Tim...In districts that do not make the 9.4% pension payment for the teachers they often have higher base salaries. For example, a first year teacher with a bachelors in Oswego receives a base salary of $36,240 + TRS payment which totals $40,000. Since you have applauded Downers Grove for cutting out 'perks', we can use DG as an example. In Downers Grove 99 a 1st year teacher with bachelors makes $48,981 salary and the teacher sends the check to TRS themselves (so overall they get nearly $9,000 more in compensation than in D308). Downers Grove District 58 also receives more in total compensation then D308. Would you rather Oswego has teachers send in the checks and keep compensation the same? Or are you saying teachers should receive only that base salary ($36,240 in the example) and take a 9.4% decrease in total compensation? You are attempting to paint a picture like Oswego teachers are getting a free ride (or 'perks' or 'padding to the contract' or whatever terms you choose to use) when in reality the only difference is who sends in the check. Downers Grove pays more tax dollars for its teachers. Quit trying to paint D308 teachers as villains.
Reality November 29, 2012 at 07:36 AM
Ron...In districts that do not make the 9.4% pension payment for the teachers they usually have higher base salaries. For example, a first year teacher with a bachelors in Oswego receives a base salary of $36,240 + TRS payment which totals $40,000. Since your friend Tim has applauded Downers Grove for cutting out 'perks', we can use DG as an example. In Downers Grove 99 a 1st year teacher with bachelors makes $48,981 salary and the teacher sends the check to TRS themselves (so overall they get nearly $9,000 more in compensation than in D308). Downers Grove District 58 also receives more in total compensation then D308. Would you rather Oswego has teachers send in the checks and keep compensation the same? Or are you saying teachers should receive only that base salary ($36,240 in the example) and take a 9.4% decrease in total compensation? You are attempting to paint a picture like Oswego teachers are getting a free ride when in reality the only difference is who sends in the check. Quit trying to paint D308 teachers as villains.
Walt Hines November 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Kevin check with your accountant, the numbers they give don't add up! I believe this was the same fuzzy math they gave the last time around and that's why another referendum will have a very hard time passing. So many are just being stretched to the limits and this district puts us farther down the path of bankruptcy. I don't think it's a matter of what we need as much as it's a matter of what we can afford. I still would like to know how they plan on opening those additions without the extra operating funds.
Tim November 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
What districts are you using to compare salaries? If you are going to make a statement like that, you need to be able to back it up. Higher base salaries are comparable to the areas median income, not whether they contribute or not. So, that is a very poorly thought out way to make your point. Go right ahead and post what other districts you were referring to when you said they 'usually have a higher base salary', and I will be happy to point out to you the differences in the areas median incomes, and why that is the contributing factor. But since you walked right into giving Downers Grove as an example; Downers Grove Median income - $104K Oswego median income - $75K I'd rather the employees pay into a plan they collect from. If you want to increase base salaries far above what the median income of the area can support, that will cause you all kinds of other problems. However, if you want to create a sustainable system that is fair to EVERYONE, then this is the only alternative. Downers Grove has no problem with it, what is so special about Oswego that they can not do it? Being told to pay for your own pension, instead of making the residents pay it for you, is not 'trying to make them into a villain', its being fiscally responsible. Let them get paid based on the areas median income, and let them contribute to their pensions just like the other districts that get paid based on THEIR areas median incomes.
Richard Saunders November 29, 2012 at 02:53 PM
School Board members serve without compensation, as in: no pay. I'm all for criticism when they deserve it, but make it factually based at least.
bzmanya November 29, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Tim: Thank You! Thank You. Finally someone took the time to explain the pension funding issue. NOW, I understand the situation, thanks to your clear explanations. Thanks also to those who opposed your explanations, and your follow-up to their opposition. I'm better informed now. Thanks again.
Oswego Resident November 29, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Tim, Can I ask where you got your statistics for the median incomes for both Downers Grove and Oswego? I have been looking for that information and found very different numbers: Oswego (2009) - $91,277 http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Oswego-Illinois.html Downers Grove (2009) - $72,595 http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Downers-Grove-Illinois.html Seems odd that the two sets of numbers could be that far apart.
Ron November 29, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Did you actually take the time to consider cost of living between Downers Grove and Oswego?
Katra Knoernschild November 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Hi Tim, Just for clarification, can you please source where you pulled the Oswego Median Income from? I just pulled from here: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_3YR_S1903&prodType=table And this chart: MEDIAN INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS (IN 2011 INFLATION-ADJUSTED DOLLARS) It resulted in this median income: 93,801 with a +/- of $5233K. For Family Median Income: $104,874 When I ran the same report for Downers Grove Village, IL, this is what I retrieved: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_3YR_S1903&prodType=table Median Income $81,272 Error rate +/-5,234 Family Median Income $102,904 Then in Downers Grove Township, IL Dupage County http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_1YR_S1903&prodType=table Median Income $76,949 Error Rate +/-5,147 Family Medan Income $96,344
Jeri November 29, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Did anyone hear what is on the table with our 401k's today. Teachers are going to have a better advantage again.
JimmyJ November 30, 2012 at 12:39 AM
The "idiot board members" in terms of dollars are the only free lunch in town! BOE members serve at no compensation, nada, squat, and they take a lot of abuse too....just like the teachers seem to take...and they get paid...maybe not much..but definitely more than a board member. I'm tired of teachers and their profession being a sacred cow which can not be commented on negatively without being called a "basher" or anti-education. Simple fact...did or did not someone entering the teaching profession not know a lot of what they would be facing when they started down the road? It doesn't make some of the things right and it doesn't make some of them wrong. But in my mind a teacher making $35 - 40K is no less and no more important than anyone else making the same in terms of having to pay their bills, mortgages, food etc.
JimmyJ November 30, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Yes...teaching is such a miserable and low paying job...you have to have give aways and back door pensions to entice people into such a lowly task! ;-)
Reality November 30, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Tim is saying that he thinks Oswego teachers are over compensated. He wants a 9.4% reduction in Oswego teacher compensation. He says that Oswego teacher compensation is far above what our median income can support. This chart below is total compensation including salaries and pension payments, so it includes Tim's gripe about pensions (Tim is only using the hot button pension issue to try and call for a drastic reduction in teacher compensation). Quite a few of these districts even have lower median household incomes than Oswego. District BA 1st yr MA 10th yr Elgin U-46 39,650 62,850 Batavia 101 40,900 63,600 Aurora 129 42,500 64,800 Joliet 204 44,900 63,225 Naperville 203 44,000 67,000 Naperville 204 42,065 60,550 Plainfield 202 40,300 55,500 Yorkville 115 39,600 57,000 Oswego 308 36,240*/40,000 52,000*/57,400 The * figure is what Tim wants us to pay (as if he has any say...FYI Tim isn't even a D308 taxpayer...yet he spends his spare time demanding Oswego teachers receive a bottom of the barrel salary). The other figure for Oswego is what teachers currently receive. As you can see Oswego teacher compensation is currently comparable to Yorkville and Plainfield. Oswego teacher compensation is behind the Napervilles, Aurora, Elgin, Batavia, and Joliet. Tim's suggestions would cripple Oswego 308's abilities to attract and maintain teachers.
Reality November 30, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Back door pensions? Please. Oswego's teacher contract is posted on the district website as is the salary schedule. The salary schedule lists base + TRS. Who is hiding something? Nobody. Oswego teacher compensation is actually less than most area districts (this includes the pension contributions which you feel are back door).
Maryz November 30, 2012 at 02:27 PM
The Dual Language program is actually revenue positive Dave. I believe by about 1.5 million but that is from memory. So if you eliminated the program you would lose the grants and additional aid given to run the program and still need to have buildings, teachers etc to educate all of the children in the program. I don't think we can afford to lose a 1.5 million dollar revenue stream.
Dave Ruggles November 30, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Good info, could you provide some links that show it is revenue positive? All the articles I have read and the info I found says how great the program is, but no one has ever said, that I can find, it is revenue positive. In fact, I found several Patch articles where residents were suggesting it be discontinued to save money and no one from the school district made that argument as a reason to keep it. If it is revenue positive, why is this information not more publicly available? Why are the number of students limited and determined by lottery? It would be great to get the data you have so that everyone could see it.
Maryz November 30, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Dave, I sat in a board meeting where Dual language was discussed. I did a quick search but it didn't come up. It was probably one of the meetings in April or May. I am sure if you contact Misael Nascimento the Director of the Program he could give you the exact details.
Maryz November 30, 2012 at 03:31 PM
here is the Board Meeting video link http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/19967430 I recommend you listen to the whole thing but I believe that starting at minute 30 will cover it.
Maryz November 30, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I believe my numbers were off and it is more like 400,000 in revenue.
Oswego Resident November 30, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Ron, I'm not concerned about the actual numbers that are posted, more interested in how the numbers I found can be so different than the numbers that Tim found. It appears that Katra above also found numbers that were closer to mine than Tim's. Tim usually puts up his source, so I was curious as to where his numbers came from.
Katra Knoernschild November 30, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Ron, the only argument you are making is that Oswego could actually afford to pay their teachers more than Downers Grove (granted it doesn't take in to consideration Economic Development contributions, but that's another topic, you only focused on Median Income and Cost of Living - to which Oswego comes out ahead in both). But I don't think that is the question being asked. I think what we are trying to understand is what data source Tim is using, so that we can have a conversation based on consistency. I refer to City-Data when I want to generally use something, and because I personally find the census data retrieval process cumbersome. CD is often, more than not close to the census info, or will source it's data. It looks similar to what Oswego Resident has shared, and I would use that as a valid source for comparables looking side by side for a general discussion. I just can't figure where Tim pulled the Oswego number, except if he pulled the number from the wrong line, inadvertently. If so, no big deal - we all make mistakes, but I still want the source to compare the correct number and overall.
Jeri December 02, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Jimmy j you seem to know what is on the table for the 401k's. I see no other activity that show any knowledge. Yes possibly loosing the pretax advantage, cashed out to a government bond with 3% interest at 2008 levels, 5% requirement after tax to contribute to general fund. Well lets see...no teacher pension mentioned but all the taxpayers that have this "obligation" along with the "village people". Posters seem to agree with Tim's "obligation". This is all for increasing revenue by slight of hand, "magic" without many of the voters understanding results. They must still have their head in the sand looking for their lottery ticket.
Reality December 08, 2012 at 02:49 AM
http://oswego.patch.com/articles/census-oswego#comments Well it looks like Tim's median household income for $75k is clearly way off. This Patch article based on the latest census says that the median household income is around $94k.

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