April 6 Referendum FAQ's

April 6 Referendum FAQ's

Meridian Community,

Thank you to all those that attended the Wednesday Facebook Town Hall. We will have another one this week at 4 PM and I again want to extend an invitation to not only join us during that time but invite other community members to join, as well.  

This week, I will address four questions that have come up via that interaction with the community and/or have been forwarded to me after people have placed them on social media. Finally, as I have done each week, I will include the ballot language below. 

QUESTION 1 - What does the Education Fund mean and how do we even get money in there?

(VIDEO) https://youtu.be/g7oF1pSO5QM

QUESTION 2 - What was cut in 2013-2014 and did you bring ALL of it back when the last referendum was successful?

(VIDEO) https://youtu.be/-zqMq_dmmb8

QUESTION 3 - What is the 'ASK' in simple terms?

The ask is to MAINTAIN the current Ed Fund tax rate. A YES does that and the district receives the same 1.3+ million dollars into the Ed fund it has for the past seven years. A NO vote means the tax rate reverts to what it was in 2013 and the owner of a $150,000 house will save a little under 25 dollars per month.

QUESTION 4 - You guys seem to talk a lot about the US News and World Report Recognition a lot - is that even that impressive?

This press release below addresses that question comprehensively:

Stillman Valley High School has been recognized as a top high school in the United States by US News and World Report for the fourth consecutive year. We value the US News and World Report distinction because it is based on raw data and is not something you can apply for so this is a true indication of our growth as a district.

U.S. News ranked approximately 17,790 public high schools out of more than 24,000 reviewed. This is the count of public high schools that had a 12th-grade enrollment of 15 or greater or otherwise had sufficient enrollment in other high school grades during the 2017-2018 school year to be analyzed. The process assigns different weights to scores from six indicators of school quality. The indicators include College Readiness, Math and Reading Performance and Proficiency, College Curriculum Breadth, Graduation Rates, and Underserved Student Performance.

Stillman Valley High School ranked in the 85th percentile of ranked Illinois schools and only three state-line schools received a higher designation. I think the stand-alone data is impressive, but when it is compared to our financial situation I think the achievement (for four consecutive years) is even more impressive.

Schools typically use two metrics to quantify their financial position: (1) the percentage of adequacy that the State of Illinois uses in determining the amount of funding that the school district receives, and (2) the raw dollar amount that is spent per student within the district. Both of these metrics are publicly available on the Illinois School Report Card.

A comparison of publicly available data indicates that (with the exception of Chicago Public Schools) only 9 districts that achieve at the level of Stillman Valley High School spend less per student than Meridian CUSD 223 and zero schools in the state-line. 

BALLOT LANGUAGE

Shall the maximum annual tax rate for educational purposes for Meridian Community Unit School District Number 223, Ogle and Winnebago Counties, Illinois, be established at 3.48 percent upon all the taxable property of said School District at the value, as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue, for levy year 2021 and the years thereafter, instead of 2.78 percent, the maximum rate otherwise applicable to the taxes to be extended in said years for said purposes?

(a)       The approximate amount of taxes extendable for educational purposes under the maximum rate now in force in said School District is $6,686,863.

(b)       The approximate amount of taxes extendable for educational purposes under the proposed increased rate is $6,686,863.

(c)       The total dollar amount of the most recently approved annual budget of said School District is $21,230,109; the total dollar amount of said annual budget, if increased by the amount of additional tax which may be levied if the proposition is approved, is $21,230,109; the percentage of increase in the total dollar amount of the most recently approved annual budget of said School District, if such total dollar amount were increased by the amount of additional tax which may be levied if the proposition is approved, is 0 percent.

(d)       The percentage of increase between the maximum rate at which such taxes for educational purposes may be levied if the proposition is approved and the annual rate at which such taxes for educational purposes is currently levied is 0 percent.

Thank you and make it a great day