QA Jefferson with links for details


I will be voting “NO” despite the fact that everyone (me included) would like to say “yes” to a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center…


Bottom line:

District 200 cannot afford a new building without issuing new debt that will let them spend today while taxing tomorrow. The latest 5-year forecast, which does includes a new building, shows a $26 million deficit.  In recent years, the end-of-May financial report shows that prior to the first installment of yearly property taxes, the District’s money in the bank dips to around $15 million.  So while the referendum wording says “without levying a separate, special property tax,” they will need to find money somewhere.


If you want to print something to share with neighbors, see:


1. Is a new Jefferson a “need” or a “want”?

  • The voters will decide.
  • posted 10/28/2018:  d200-pre-k-enrollment-cost/  (note: the grant programs for Head Start and the all-day Preschool Expansion grant (PEG) are not mandated.) 

2. How much will it cost vs. renewal of the existing building?

3. Can we afford it without raising taxes?

4. Is it our top priority given that 18 out of the other 19 building have a total “need” of $87 million in capital renewal?

5. If all CUSD 200 bonds were paid off how much would our taxes go down?

6. What has the school board been prioritizing, by already approving the spending?

7. How much, and who is paying for all the “vote yes” PR?

8. Why do we suddenly have a referendum? Has the district been telling the whole story?


originally posted 10/25/2018, updated 10/28/2018, & 10/31/2018

24 thoughts on “QA Jefferson with links for details

  1. 8) Why do we suddenly have a referendum? Has the district been telling the whole story?

    What a joke. The referendum is a result of YOUR 11th hour lawsuit, drafted by your shadow group. You filed it when you filed it (or more likely when you were told to file it) as any later would have made any claims you made stale legally based on planned Board actions and votes.

    The referendum was the last minute action which the Board took to make your lawsuit moot, and was speedily put in place just before the deadline to do so. That’s not sneaky. That’s just taking action based on available routes to resolve a matter that needs a resolution. Your constant conspiracy mongering is really tiresome.

    Why won’t you ever answer the question of who REALLY wrote your complaint?

    Your “facts and figures”, spun as you do, doesn’t fool everyone.

    Oh….the Hazelton Street neighbors are just ever so pleased for your leaflet littering last night at the school.


  2. And we know from your own mouth that you do not care about the children:

    You only care that our District not become a “magnet” for those damn costly special needs kids. Putting aside the coldness of those remarks for the moment, your arguments do not reflect families that were already here, or those that lived here (and paid taxes here) and just didn’t have a child yet or one with special needs. Specious arguments.


  3. What percentage of the enrollment are out-of-district tuition students?
    In Woodstock D200, our property tax rate is higher than 4% of total home fair market value.
    Our school district accounts for more than 2/3 of that.
    We have a separate building dedicated to special ed enrollment.
    85% of the enrollment are out-of-district tuition students.
    Their tuition (which is determined by law) does not begin to cover the costs of delivering their services.
    I suspect this is what Ms. Shaw is warning against.


    1. Sadly, I doubt it. I wish I could repeat a couple stories relayed to me by Moms who had the misfortune of meeting and discussing their children and the Jefferson school with Ms. Shaw. Unfortunately, since they are not willing to suffer public retribution from her shadow group, I can’t get into the details they conveyed.


      1. Greg, Here’s a suggestion. Since this website appears to give you substantial acid indigestion, why not start your own website dedicated to those who believe that the board tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? That might even be a great domain name (you can thank me later). If our board could put half the time into being as transparent as the watchdog, our community, schools and students would be far better off. The amount of conflicts of interest on this board stinks to high heaven. And if you care to argue, I’ve got an army of others (both pro ref and against ref) who would agree and join in.


      2. I did…you can click my name above right to see the website. Unlike most people who comment in a bubble, I have website, email and phone number posted.

        And I also invite any District member to meet and discuss this. Thus far, no takers. Just outsiders.


      3. No… I have put forth my arguments in many posts here and elsewhere, both as a critique of the math, and the background as from where this attack on the Jefferson School plan really stems.


  4. 8) we are having a referendum as a direct result of D200’s fight all the way to the SUPREME COURT in their attempt to hide pay and contract info for admin staff. They lost, thank God. This time they ran and hid like common thieves when confronted. We have not forgotten the past actions of the board as witnessed by 2 failed referendums.
    RE: the mailing, they have had 28 years to do ADA work, but now our kids are using a “makeshift ramp”? unbelievable!


    1. Elena…like Janet Shaw, you are blaming previous failures and issues from 10+ years ago on the CURRENT Board. The current members weren’t elected then! The current Board has a duty to RESOLVE the issue.


  5. The data on out-of- district enrollment percentages should be made available to your district taxpayers.
    The law does not allow tuition payments to cover capital expenses such as this new building, among other things.


  6. Also, any in-district parents who feel the needs of their children are not being met are able to obtain tuition payment from your district for the cost of their children to attend another district. I hope you counseled the Moms accordingly.


  7. Jefferson is an Early Childhood Center not a Preschool. Check the credentials of the teachers for preschools as you only need an Associates Degree to teach. Teachers at Jefferson ECC also triple certified in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education and Bilingual/English as a Second Language. Federal and State mandates require school districts to provide an appropriate public education for children with special education needs beginning on their third birthday. By providing these services early on to children, school outcomes improve so the district spends less as they get older.

    Please go tour the school or email/call the district to have your questions answered. If you’re relying on one watchdog site to give you all of the information-you will not have all of the information.

    This is for our community and it is an asset! Vote yes for Jefferson-you’re taxes are not going to increase as the district has the funding for this in their budget.


    1. No one is questioning the fact that early intervention can help special needs children. I am questioning the growth in the district’s pre-K program for others. Should the school district be spending taxpayers money (federal grant pocket or local property tax pocket) to grow a non-mandated program that competes with the Park district and private preschools?


  8. Are you speaking about the PEG program? It’s a grant program so how is that spending tax payers money? I have two children- one who is a Jefferson Allum and the other just started in a 3 year old classroom. We are tuition paying and the school has been fabulous to our children as far as growth! My children have thrived and continue to thrive because of Jefferson. The school has an excellent roster of teachers, therapists and aides and because of that if I have any questions about my child I can reach to them at any time and vice versa to address any questions or issues. The classrooms have children with special needs as well as children who don’t need services which is so important for teaching our little ones acceptance of diversity and that it’s ok to be different.


    1. Federal grant programs are STILL tax money – it just routes through the federal government rather than your property tax pocket.
      Of course you like the program. Look at the list of those promoting it. Like you, many are receiving the benefits. Others are receiving a pay check. The program exists. Many children mature nicely over a year or two in the program. No doubt.
      But, the building can be fixed.
      District 200 cannot afford a new building.
      The district is deficit spending beyond what they have in the bank (5-year forecast) even if we subtract the new preschool cost.
      Can those paying for this justify keeping their property taxes up when taxes are scheduled to go down?


      1. So…NOW your argument is that this is FEDERAL taxes, and that is essentially the same thing as the local PROPERTY taxes.

        That was not your argument in the Complaint you filed that the outside had drafted by the shadow group, nor the argument in the fliers you recently posted, both of which had faulty math, and both of which contradicted even each other in the total alleged costs.


  9. Are you speaking of the PEG program because that is grant funded so how is that effecting my taxes? My five year old is a Jefferson Alum and my three year old currently attends the school. We are tuition paying and they’re both thriving due to the top notch teachers, therapists and aides! Classes are intermingled with special children as well as children who don’t need services which is great for acceptance of diversity and understand that it’s ok to be different. If I ever have a question about my child I would just the therapists to make them aware. They’re fantastic about working with everyone! I know I keep saying it but this school is a true asset to our community! Vote yes!


    1. How does the tuition payment thing work? Is that because you are out of D200?
      My kids are older, but I had one go there, we didn’t pay “tuition” per se.


      1. The district claims the tuition charged covers the cost of those students being there. Based on the 2012 audit that I studied in 2013, it didn’t come close. Your neighbors subsidize the program via our property taxes.


      2. State and federal mandates require the district to begin providing services to children who are identified with a special need or disability on their 3rd birthday.

        Just as important, providing early learning interventions is the right thing to do for children. Of the children with an identified need that attend Jefferson, 80% transition into a mainstream kindergarten classroom. There are significant cost savings to the system when children are able to transition into a kindergarten classroom with typical peers.


  10. The building is 60 years old and it will cost more to renovate. The district has done its dilligence with several scenarios. That building is a Pandora’s box. Have you toured the school? Lastly, yes federal funding for the PEG program I’m totally fine with! It helps out low income families and gives the child a head start at success-great program.


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