Monday, February 08, 2016

Vote No on 198 Million 112 School Referendum

During the course of my 20 years in public service, I have often asked my fellow elected officials to help me find ways of reducing the huge tax burden on our Highland Park and Lake County residents. At best, the officials have shown small restraint by holding the line on tax levies. Nonetheless, our property values have still not recovered to pre-recession values, while our tax costs have continued to significantly rise. Together, these factors cause real financial stress for many of our residents.

District 112’s enormous referendum of $198 million capital debt and a huge tax levy--the largest increase in Highland Park history--will further strain our already struggling citizens. We already pay more than twice as much in real estate taxes as most areas in the nation, and D112 is irresponsibly ignoring this key fact: They are asking for money that people simply do not have. Residents are already abandoning Highland Park.

Enough is enough. Our community must do better.

The D112 Board needs to live within its means, just like the rest of us must do in our personal lives. This referendum pits neighbor against neighbor. The Board threatens closures designed to scare residents into voting yes, when the financial facts are quite different in the short term. This is an unfair “all or nothing” strategy designed to pressure voters. The message? Support the referendum or your school will soon close, even though the financial facts don’t support near-term closures.

There is a better way: D112 should consider combining and reducing the administration, eliminating unaffordable programs, holding the line on employee compensation, and voting to close unsustainable schools only after voters have a chance to decide on the referendum.

I urge all my fellow citizens to stand strong and VOTE NO.

Steven W Mandel

Current Lake County Board Member & LCFPD Commissioner, District 11 (2012- current)
Past Mayor Pro Tem, Councilman, City of Highland Park (1993-2012)
2157 St. Johns Ave. Highland Park, IL 60035   847.456.6933