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Our view: Voice of the residents will be heard

Published: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 11:14 p.m. CDT

If those who reside within the Batavia School District 101 boundaries support the potential borrowing of up to $15 million to fund capital improvements in the district, they’ll have their chance to voice their approval.

The board on Tuesday voted to put the request on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election. The question includes potential improvements to athletic fields, and there are strong feelings on both sides of the issue. There is a proposed master plan to improve the high school athletic fields, including installation of a synthetic turf field for the defending state champion Batavia football team, as well as plans that would increase bleacher seating, and improve the press box, scoreboard and stadium lighting.

Now, those who are passionate about the issue know they have a few months to get the word out about their argument and let people know why they should or should not support it.

Kris Monn, the District 101 assistant superintendent for finance, said the proposal would not result in a tax increase, but some residents might be skeptical. The time remaining before the referendum is put forth provides district officials an opportunity to spell out the plan and provide details, and it allows residents time to get answers about whether their taxes would increase.

Also this past week, St. Charles School District 303 Board members narrowly approved the fiscal 2014-15 district budget, with total expenditures of $190 million. The vote was, 4-3, in favor of the budget. Those who voted against the budget said they were concerned taxpayers cannot continue to endure the anticipated increase in tax rates that would result from a higher budget than last year. In fact, the approved budget represents an increase of about $4 million from fiscal 2013-14.

At both districts, the voice of the residents should be heard. In Batavia, that opportunity will come at the polls in November, when voters will decide the fate of the referendum.

In St. Charles, it’s important that some board members indicated that they had taken the concerns of taxpayers into consideration. The opinions of all of those affected should be included in the decision-making process. Those on both sides of the issue should pay attention to how board members voted when it is time for the next school district elections.

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