Monthly Archives: March 2018

CUSD 200 approves financing – Taxpayer opinions don’t matter

Last night, March 14, 2018 at the CUSD 200 school board meeting the Board of Education voted 7-0 to approve the resolution authorizing and providing for a ‘lease and escrow agreement for the purpose of building and equipping a new early childhood center in and for the district’.  When the video of the meeting becomes available, I will post a link to it, listing key time points.  Apparently the board members decided to trust that this is “legal.”  I am NOT a lawyer, but, I can read English.  And this doesn’t sound legal to me.

Take a look at what the Edgar County Watchdogs wrote about it:

  • CUSD 200 – Laws? What Laws? – SCHOOL Districts using “Lease” to avoid the legal requirement for referendum to build new school…


Building Schedule

On Nov. 8, 2017 the Board of Education approved 6-1 Legat Architects’ schedule for the new Jefferson Early Learning Center – a new building WITHOUT taxpayer approval.  Key days according to it:

  • 04/06/18          Nicholas completes 90% D.D. Cost Estimate
  • 06/25/18          95% Construction Documents Complete – Start Final Comments Final Review & Coordination/ Scope of Work Summaries
  • 07/09/18          Issue Bid Documents
  • 08/15/18          Board Meeting: Award Construction Contracts [by then, the project & financing must be approved]
  • 08/16/18          Start Construction: Mobilization – 12 Months [for construction to start, financing must be secured]
  • 06/05/19          Start of Abatement, Demolition, Site Work and Parking
  • 08/21/19          Occupancy


Most likely in August 2018, the Board will  approve the project and sale of the Lease Certificates.  They can still decide not to go forward with the project if the cost is too high, they do not have the money to do this, or they become convinced that a referendum is required.


Financing Option – from Sept 2017

We found this presentation about financing options (with pros and cons for each) from PMA that was given last fall – September 2017.  Why did the district pursue building the new pre-k facility as a wing on an existing school last fall if they were so sure they could legally build a brand new Jefferson at the current location without a referendum?


Cut other spending first

I have told the board in public comments that if they go for another referendum after cutting enough from the bloated salaries and Benefits (starting with Dr. Schuler setting a good example) so that the district can actually afford this new building, while still maintaining the other 19 schools and without raising taxes… then I will help pass it. But, cutting the bloat comes first!  If the staff won’t give anything, then it must not be that important.

CUSD200 plans to build new Jefferson against taxpayers’ will

It is on the agenda for the next board meeting.

  • DATE:  3/14/2018 TIME:  7:00 PM
  • LOCATION:  WWSHS (1920 S. Wiesbrook Road, Wheaton, IL 60189)
After asking via Referendum twice,
And being told “NO” twice,
Wheaton-Warrenville, CUSD200 is looking to build a new Jefferson pre-school WITHOUT a referendum.
On Wed, 3/14/2018 the board plans to approve the issuance of “lease certificates.” The “lease certificates look, walk & act like bonds (not more than $14 million, not less than $10 million).  They are justifying this based on Section 10-22.12 of the School Code, which allows a school district to lease a building.
They are totally ignoring and avoiding Section 10-22.36 of the School Code which requires a successful referendum for any new construction unless paid for by donations, grant, or sale of other property. Their plan is to pay for the whole thing with the lease, and make the final $1.00 with money that is donated or comes from a grant.
This is obviously not in keeping with the intent of the law, and based on the verbatim discussion of the Illinois House when Section 10-22.36 of the School Code was last changed, is not in keeping with the intent of the law makers.  I have brought this to the attention of the board and the administration via email, and via public comments at the January 17, 2018 board meeting.  I also spoke at the March 7, 2018 finance committee meeting.
The community has said “NO” to the referendum twice, came out en mass to say “NO!” to adding an entire pre-school wing to Monroe Middle School (and gutting Graf Park).  It is time to tell them that they must do this via referendum.  And if they want the referendum to pass, they must cut the bloat from salaries and benefits so that the district can afford to do it out of current funds – starting with the Superintendent setting an example by agreeing to remove the recently added perks to his contract.
If I am the only one saying “NO!” they will proceed in authorizing the Initial Rental Payment of $1,500,000.
Please, if you live in the district, and believe the LAW should be followed, contact the D200 school board at or better yet, show up at the board meeting at make your public comments.

At the Last Finance Meeting 3/7/2018

 On 3/7/2018 I attended the CUSD 200 Finance meeting.Bob Lewis of PMA presented the lease agreement – sounds just like a Bond or financing agreement, except

  • they call it a lease
  • the district does not take the title for the new building until they pay $1.00 (with grant or donated money) after all “lease payments are made”
  • The district cannot raise taxes to pay this one.

When asked what part of the school code gives them permission, PMA referenced 10-22.12.  I asked why 10-22.36 does not apply.  Bob  responded “I don’t know what that is.”


During public comment I asked our superintendent, Dr. Schuler if he has something in writing from a lawyer as to why the district does not need a referendum.  He assured everyone that he spoke with the district lawyer and this is legal – nothing in writing.

In the pursuing discussion, it was implied that bond council looked at the legality.  But, bond council simply looked at the legality of issuing lease certificates.  The district’s general council should look at the requirement for referendum.

Did anyone actually look at the legality of leasing a yet to be constructed school, on school property, using “lease certificates” for funding without taxpayer approval as required by 10-22.36?


(105 ILCS 5/10-22.36) 

Sec. 10-22.36. Buildings for school purposes. To build or purchase a building for school classroom or instructional purposes upon the approval of a majority of the voters upon the proposition at a referendum held for such purpose or in accordance with Section 17-2.11, 19-3.5, or 19-3.10. The board may initiate such referendum by resolution. The board shall certify the resolution and proposition to the proper election authority for submission in accordance with the general election law.

The questions of building one or more new buildings for school purposes or office facilities, and issuing bonds for the purpose of borrowing money to purchase one or more buildings or sites for such buildings or office sites, to build one or more new buildings for school purposes or office facilities or to make additions and improvements to existing school buildings, may be combined into one or more propositions on the ballot.

Before erecting, or purchasing or remodeling such a building the board shall submit the plans and specifications respecting heating, ventilating, lighting, seating, water supply, toilets and safety against fire to the regional superintendent of schools having supervision and control over the district, for approval in accordance with Section 2-3.12.

Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, no referendum shall be required if the purchase, construction, or building of any such building (1) occurs while the building is being leased by the school district or (2) is paid with (A) funds derived from the sale or disposition of other buildings, land, or structures of the school district or (B) funds received (i) as a grant under the School Construction Law or (ii) as gifts or donations, provided that no funds to purchase, construct, or build such building, other than lease payments, are derived from the district’s bonded indebtedness or the tax levy of the district.

Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, no referendum shall be required if the purchase, construction, or building of any such building is paid with funds received from the County School Facility Occupation Tax Law under Section 5-1006.7 of the Counties Code or from the proceeds of bonds or other debt obligations secured by revenues obtained from that Law.


You can find these portions of school code by  starting at

  • Click on “Illinois Compiled Statutes”
  • Click on “CHAPTER 105   SCHOOLS”
  • Click on “105 ILCS 5/ School Code.”
  • Press <ctrl-f> and Search for “10-22.36”


2001 modification to the law

The original law (105 ILCS 5/10-22.36) prior to 2001 stated that no referendum was required if the district used funds from the sale of other buildings or funds received as gifts or grants, provided that no funds were derived from the district’s bonded indebtedness or tax levy.  That was clear.  However, in 2001 the language was changed to add subsection (1) “while the building is being leased by the school district” as well as the clause “other than lease payments”.

The change was made by

  • Public Act 92-0127
  • Bill number: SB1035 of the 92 general assembly
  • Passed in the General Assembly May 01, 2001.
  • Approved July 20, 2001

In the transcripts for the House on 5/1/2001,

on pages 49-52 Rep. Black asked

“…I want to make sure, Representative, that we’re not circumventing the right of the voters to say, ‘I don’t think that you ought to buy that building.’”

And Rep Crotty (bill sponsor) replied

“That is not in the Bill….When we’re talking about leasing, many school districts lease a building maybe for a dollar an hour just to be sure that that is not something that needs to be done with referendum.  So, we’re not changing that part.  And if there are added dollars needed for a school district, they most definitely have to still go through referendum.”

Those who passed it understood that it does NOT allow lease to own in order to avoid the referendum!


(105 ILCS 5/10-22.12)
Sec. 10-22.12. Lease of property for school purposes. To lease, for a period not exceeding 99 years, any building, rooms, grounds and appurtenances to be used by the district for the use of schools or for school administration purposes; and to pay for the use of such leased property in accordance with the terms of the lease. The board shall not make or renew any lease for a term longer than 10 years, nor alter the terms of any lease whose unexpired term may exceed 10 years without the vote of 2/3 of the full membership of the board.


See previous articles:

Pension recipients should want to fix pensions

top all

I have several neighbors who are are afraid, that if Illinois touches anybody’s pension that they  could loose their own.    First let me say


No one will take your modest pension

We can change pensions going forward, for new employees with legislation.  However, any modification to the  already promised pensions requires negotiation, the legislature placing an amendment on the ballot and the voters approving it.

Take a look at these top pensions.  Can you justify raising taxes on the working poor & middle income folks to fund these?  Will you be willing to make small changes now, in order to avoid a total collapse?


Taxpayers United of America – 2017 Pension Report

Starting at taxpayersunitedofamericaorg/items-of-interest/11th-annual-report-illinois-state-pensions and clicking on the reports for each of hte state-run pension funds, we find the top few state pensions are all for retirees in the State University Retirement System (SURS)







  • Nearly 17,000 Illinois Government Pensions Exceed $100,000 as of 2017
  • Nearly 100,000 Illinois government retirees collect annual pensions totaling $50,000 or more.
  • The average annual Social Security retirement benefit for taxpayers is less than $17,000 and the maximum benefit is $32,000 if working until 66.

Comparing to census data

According to the US Census 2017 data for Illinois:  Bureau

Median household income (in 2016 dollars), 2012-2016 was $59,196.
Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2016 dollars), 2012-2016 was $31,502.

And their state income tax went up last summer so that all pensioners can continue to get a 3%  compounded COLA (Cost of living allowance), including those receiving pension well in excess of the median family income.


Ives’ Statement of pensions:


Jeanne on the House floor

Watch Jeanne argue and kill a bill allowing a pension holiday

Jeanne Ives on FB-Live

If you are on Facebook, you can watch the FB-live video of Jeanne Ives at The University of Chicago Institute of Politics on 3/5/2018

She says

  • “In the state of Illinois, when you look at the cost of our pensions, it is 23% of our income.  The average in other states is 3%.”
  • “Illinois has become one big Ponzi schemes.”
  • “The  police and fire in Chicago… are just one down-turn short of insolvency. “
  • “We are number 3 in the nation in terms of state support for full time equivalent student… it’s just that half of that goes to pensions…”
  • “In the last 30 years pension costs have grown over a 1,000%. In the same time, personal income has grown just over 100%… ten times!”
  • “We are number 1 in supporting pensioners. We are number 48 in supporting developmentally disabled.”
  • “If you had understood, how these pensions were ballooning, you would have had a decrease in the salary acceleration…”
  • “If we still had the same tenants in our pension plan, as we had in the 1970’s we would not even have a crisis.  They went from a 1.5 multiplier to a 2.2 multiplier.  They went from you have to be 62 or over 60, to you can retire with 2 years of sick leave accrual and retire before you are 55.  And then they went from a 1% COLA to a 3% compounded COLA…”

We need to have the discussion.  We need to find a way to ensure that pensions will be here for years to come while still providing state services and without chasing the taxpayers out of the state.