Take a look at property tax bills over the years. If you live in Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD 200 you’ll notice the largest and fastest growing portion is for the school District Continue reading “High Property Taxes due to District 200 Bond Debt”
The January 2018 forecast-5 shows a $21M deficit an updated one received in October 2018 shows $26M.
On October 19 I received a response to a FOIA about district financials:
On October 9, 2018, you requested the following documents:
Please provide ALL documents that show any changes to the 5-year budget that was approved August 15, 2018 or any other documents that show how you plan to balance the budget.
Your request is granted. Please see attached document. (below)
be sure to include the latest forecast-5 summarysee attached screenshot from 1/31/2018 presentation.
- on page 13, it includes funds for Jefferson
- On page 15 the sum for years 2019 to 2023 of “Surplus / Deficit Incl Other Fin Sources” is -$20,736,934 or a $21M deficit of the next 5 years based on the January 2018 report. Since then, a new teacher contract and administrator contracts that are more generous than originally assumed, have been signed.
- on page 16, the low point for fund balances is negative in FY-2020.
So yes, while “Jefferson is in the budget,” D200 does not have the funds in reserve to cover their planned deficit.
Current (10/21/2018) Cost Estimate:
(Our original prediction, prior to the last FOIA response was 23.6M)
Cost estimates from the 8/15/2018 board agenda
As attached to the 8/15/2018 board agenda Action Item after the closed session. On page 3 we found what the district anticipated had they gone ahead without the referendum.
The districts’ FAQ for the referendum is advertising “$15 million in the latest construction bids.”
Architectural & Engineering (sum 3 lines)
994,949 + 66,920 + 368,164 = 1,430,033
957,719 + 17,248 + 368,175 = 1,343,142
Debt Service Cost
in the 8/15/2018 board packet, (item 2 in Action Items after the closed session) lease_certificate_resolution pdf page 5.
The Certificates shall become due and payable serially or be subject to mandatory redemption (subject to option of prior redemption as hereinafter described) on the dates of each of the years (not later than 2038), in the amounts (not exceeding $1,200,000 per year) and bearing interest at the rates per annum (not exceeding 5.00%) as set forth in the Certificate Notification.
The $1,200,000 is for principle + Interest. Verbally they were talking $1M/year.
Borrowing $14M and paying back $1M/year for 20 years is a total payment of $20M or $6M in interest.
If it is $1.2M/year for 20 years that is $24M or $10M in interest.
Based on what bonds have been selling for, 4% interest and $1M/year is more likely.
Debt Service – Update (10/19/2018)
Please provide the total cost estimate for the new Jefferson building if approved. This should include, but not limited to:
- design costs (how much has been already paid + estimate for remaining work)
- construction costs
- debt services or “lease interest”
- “owner’s cost” to include removal of old Jefferson, landscaping, furnishing the new building and storm water retention.
On October 19 at 9:04 AM, I received a response
Your request is granted. Please see information below:
design costs (how much has been already paid + estimate for remaining work) $813,138.26 paid to date
construction costs see attached document (document can also be found on district website)
debt services or “lease interest” estimate of debt service schedule attached
“owner’s cost” to include removal of old Jefferson, landscaping, furnishing the new building and storm water retention. see attached document (document can also be found on district website)
One of the attachments is the one I had found in the 8/15/2018 board packet. The other is a Debt Service Schedule, dated September 12, 2018 (after placing the referendum on the ballot). It shows borrowing $13,675,000, a coupon rate of 4%, total interest of $6,231,936.11 and “Total P+I” of $19,906,936.11
The difference between $14M and the $13,675,000 being borrowed is $325,000 which is most likely the cost of issuing the lease certificates. Our original guess for interest was $6M. We updated it to $6.5M based on this document ($6,231,936.11 + $325,000).
Since i have not confirmed the $325,000 as being a cost… I decided to not include it. Note: the cost is a close estimate based on district data. Actual cost will be determined when/if certificates are actually sold.
Originally posted 10/18/2018, updated 10/19/2018 & 10/23/2018
Someone posted a link to ballotpedia’s entry for Wheaton-Warrenville CUDS 200 on social media. I took a look. There is some nice historical data there.
If you have lived in CUSD 200 for two decades or longer, and “feel” like school taxes have gone up faster than inflation, you have good reason.
Using a US inflation calculator https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ to determine what we should expect if revenue, expenses and debt went up with inflation, we find it all went up significantly faster:
Note: Debt & Gov. Payments is “payments to state and local governments and interest on school system debt”
The number of students in the district does not account for this large budget growth.
From the CUSD 200 Demographic Trends and Enrollment Projections, June 2017 report by John D. Kasarda, Ph.D., in 1993 the total enrollment in D200 was 12,383. Enrollment peaked in 2003 at 14,314. In 2013 it was at 13,243 and in 2017 had dropped to 12,642.
On January 31, 2018 the District presented to the board their “District Wide Facilities Category and Condition Ranking.”
For Jefferson to maintain the building with no addition or remodeling, it will cost $5,319,800 for paving, roofing, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, doors / hardware, windows, and other.
While, there is no doubt that building new will result in a newer, bigger, nicer facility. Is it a “NEED” or a “WANT”?
To build a new building, the construction cost alone is estimated at $15 million. Total costs will include:
- design costs (most already spent)
- $15M construction costs.
- “debt services” or “lease interest”
- “owner’s cost” – removal of old Jefferson, landscaping, furnishing the new building and storm water retention.
My guess is total cost will be at least $21 million. (FOIA pending)
The total costs for “needs” at each of the CUSD 200 facilities according to the “District Wide Facilities Category and Condition Ranking.” (linked above):
|Jefferson Early Learning Center||$5,319,800|
|Bower Elementary School||$6,217,600|
|Emerson Elementary School||$1,338,700|
|Hawthorn Elementary School||$1,742,900|
|Johnson Elementary School||$3,037,500|
|Lincoln Elementary School||$3,097,900|
|Longfellow Elementary School||$1,911,500|
|Lowell Elementary School||$5,626,700|
|Madison Elementary School||$2,726,600|
|Pleasant Hill Elementary School||$2,859,300|
|Sandburg Elementary School||$1,242,400|
|Washington Elementary School||$5,366,800|
|Whittier Elementary School||$2,087,300|
|Wiesbrook Elementary School||$1,260,300|
|Edison Middle School||$12,611,500|
|Franklin Middle School||$10,830,800|
|Hubble Middle School||$0|
|Monroe Middle School||$10,376,300|
|Wheaton North High school||$6,836,800|
|Wheaton-Warrenville South High School||$6,817,300|
Community Unit School District (CUSD) 200 has been in the news, and they are now planning to try a third referendum to build a new Jefferson Pre-school.
- 3/13/2018 – CUSD 200 – Laws? What Laws? – SCHOOL Districts using “Lease” to avoid the legal requirement for referendum to build new school – by Kirk Allen edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2018/03/cusd-200-laws-what-laws-school-districts-using-lease-to-avoid-the-legal-requirement-for-referendum-to-build-new-school/
- 7/13/2018 CUSD 200 raising future taxes – Quietly – by Jan Shaw dupagewatchdog.org/2018/07/cusd200-raising-future-taxes-quietly/
- 8/7/2018 – Jan Shaw Press Release 8/7/22018 dupagewatchdog.org/2018/08/jan-shaw-press-release-to-stop-unapproved-elc/
- 8/7/2018 – District 200 facing lawsuit for building school without required referendum (has the text of the law suit) – by Kirk Allen edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2018/08/district-200-facing-lawsuit-for-building-school-without-required-referendum/
- 8/10/2018 – Despite 2 voter rejections, Wheaton school district plans to construct new building — and gets sued over it – by Bob Goldsborough chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ct-met-wheaton-school-preschool-project-20180806-story.html
- 8/12/2018 – Lawsuit filed to stop District 200 from building new school – by Kasey Schefflin-Emrich dupagepolicyjournal.com/stories/511528194-lawsuit-filed-to-stop-district-200-from-building-new-school
- 8/15/2018 – Voters have rejected new school twice. District 200 board looks to build it anyway – by Jake Griffin (prior to the board meeting) dailyherald.com/news/20180815/voters-have-rejected-new-school-twice-district-200-board-looks-to-build-it-anyway
8/15/2018 – Regular Board Meeting held
- 8/15/2018 – District 200 pulls back on new Jefferson center, looks to referendum after all – by Katlyn Smith dailyherald.com/news/20180815/district-200-pulls-back-on-new-jefferson-center-looks-to-referendum-after-all
- 8/15/2018 – Lawsuit filed against District 200 to prevent construction of new early childhood center – by Eric Schelkopf http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/2018/08/14/lawsuit-filed-against-district-200-to-prevent-construction-of-new-early-childhood-center/a9bp4g2/
- 8/16/2018 – Board of Education tables action on new Jefferson Early Childhood Center and schedules an August 20 Special Meeting to consider a November referendum – by Erica Loiacono medium.com/district-200-newsroom/board-of-education-tables-action-on-new-jefferson-early-childhood-center-and-schedules-an-august-20-909bfe199a04
- 8/18/2018 Wheaton-area school board will consider seeking voter approval on plan to lease new preschool – by Bob Goldsborough chicagotribune.com/suburbs/wheaton-glen-ellyn/news/ct-met-wheaton-new-preschool-update-20180817-story.html
8/20/2018 – Special Board Meeting held
- 8/20/2018 – Board of Education authorizes November ballot question – by Erica Loiacono cusd200.org/Page/14419
- 8/20/2018 – Board of Education authorizes November ballot question – by Erica Loiacono medium.com/district-200-newsroom/board-of-education-authorizes-november-ballot-question-93438395fe81
- 8/20/2018 – District 200 will ask voters to replace Jefferson school after all – by Katlyn Smith dailyherald.com/news/20180820/district-200-will-ask-voters-to-replace-jefferson-school-after-all
- 8/21/2018 – Jan Shaw open letter to CUSD 200 taxpayers dupagewatchdog.org/2018/08/jan-shaw-to-cusd-200-taxpayers/ dated, printer friendly copy: Jan Shaw 8_21_2018 open letter dated
- 8/21/2018 – District 200 puts early childhood center on ballot – by Eric Schelkopf mysuburbanlife.com/2018/08/20/district-200-puts-early-childhood-center-on-ballot/a6obwqh/
- 8/21/2018 After Lawsuit, District 200 Seeks Vote On Early Childhood Center – by Lisa Marie Farver patch.com/illinois/wheaton/after-lawsuit-district-200-seeks-vote-early-childhood-center
- 8/23/2018 – Wheaton Warrenville District 200 halts construction on school replacement, will let voters decide – by Randy Tucker dupagepolicyjournal.com/stories/511540586-wheaton-warrenville-district-200-halts-construction-on-school-replacement-will-let-voters-decide
- 8/24/2018 – Jan Shaw open letter to CUSD 200 taxpayers (reprinted) dupagepolicyjournal.com/stories/511543296-letter-to-the-editor-district-200-claims-jefferson-is-its-priority-and-that-we-must-build-a-new-school by Jan Shaw
- 9/3/2018 – Records: Taxpayers spending $17,220 per child on Wheaton “preschool” for four year olds – by W.J. Kennedy dupagepolicyjournal.com/stories/511549582-records-taxpayers-spending-17-220-per-child-on-wheaton-preschool-for-four-year-olds
- 9/4/2018 – Voters throughout DuPage will face tax hike questions in November – by Robert Sanchez dailyherald.com/news/20180904/voters-throughout-dupage-will-face-tax-hike-questions-in-november
9/13/2018 – Law Suit Voluntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice
- 9/13/2018 – Law Suit Voluntarily Dismissed Without Prejudice – by Jan Shaw dupagewatchdog.org/2018/09/law-suit-voluntarily-dismissed-without-prejudice/
- 9/14/2018 – Lawsuit against Wheaton-Warrenville District 200 dropped – by Eric Schelkopf mysuburbanlife.com/2018/09/14/lawsuit-against-wheaton-warrenville-district-200-dropped/asb1tvm/
- In third referendum campaign for a new Jefferson, District 200 superintendent vows to ‘do better’- Katlyn Smith dailyherald.com/news/20181005/in-third-referendum-campaign-for-a-new-jefferson-district-200-superintendent-vows-to-do-better
Originally posted September 4, 2018. Updated September 18, 2018 and October 6, 2018
I searched my notes, this website and my memory, for votes that were not unanimous – for good chances for D200 to save money that were not taken. I remembered one that was not already documented, so I found the video, watched it, took notes and will cover it in detail first. The others will be listed with links for more info.
June 04, 2015 – special meeting to approve the 2015-2018 WWEA teachers’ contract.
each entry lists the starting time-mark, & who said what (the most informative comments are from Jim Gambaiani starting at 30:00)
2:00 Harold Lonks
WWEA contract. “How can we make comments on the agenda items when there is no information available to the public? And why only 50 hours notice of the meeting? Teachers have commented that the contract is generous.”
Quotes from the Daily Herald by board candidates from the previous election: “Trust, communication key issue in D200 board race…”
“Let’s look at what happened in the past couple of years in D200. School board members eliminated B-sports at the middle schools because they could no longer afford to pay $150,000 and would not consider volunteers. A parent was told in the last board meeting that there is no funding available to offer courses in foreign languages for elementary students. Larger class sizes in elementary schools, installing cell towers on school property to raise revenue, and finally the board is considering higher fees [since then fees have gone up significantly]. And let’s not forget about the repairs and upgrades needed by our buildings… Are you going to be voting no to support the needs of our children and students, which is our number 1 priority?”
5:50 Jan Shaw
“How does paying more money to the same adults for doing the same job do anything for the children?” Salary spikes should never have existed. Now the end of career bonus –That should have never existed. She mentioned two administrators, Sorrick and Belha, who ended their careers with 20% 0% 6% 6% salary increases. It appears they put in for their end of career 20% then stuck around for three more years and then put in again for their 6% end-of-career spikes. We have a right to know exactly what is in that contract. Board member should have been on that negotiating team. There was absolutely no taxpayer representative on that negotiating team. It should not be negotiated behind closed doors and the board given a yes/no vote. A 25 year teacher is not worth two-and-a-half times a new teacher.
30:00 Jim Gambaiani –
“While I support many provisions of this contract, I cannot support those related to compensation, Specifically:
- “Total salary increases approaching $6 million.
- Total salary percentage increase that could reach 8.5%.
- Total stipend percent increase of 6% and
- a 50% increase in post employment payments.
In the 2016-2017 school year, this district will enjoy a $4 million windfall given the fact that 60 retiring teachers will be replaced with teachers at lower salaries. This situation presents the district with a unique opportunity to have access to funds that could be used for building maintenance and improvement, technology upgrade, or increase payments toward debt service obligations. These funds could also be used for unanticipated expenses that the district may incur due to pension shift legislation, reallocation of general state aid funds currently known as Senate ill number one, or lower per student dollar allocation. I believe it is important to acknowledge that the district has numerous current and future financial challenges that can no longer be ignored. Unfortunately, these available funds are being used to support a teacher contract. As a board it is incumbent upon us to make these difficult choices and use taxpayer money based on the identified needs and priorities of the district. I believe that a $6 million earmark for the teacher contract should rather be used for the priorities and needs I just outlined. Therefore, I will cast a NO vote. “
38:00 Jim Vroman
“…those surpluses will NEVER, will never achieve, will never pay for the needs for our facility… the facilities committee reported to us last May, a month ago, a few weeks ago, that the expected… financial needs to upgrade our facilities is $51-million. And that is not going to come out of any surpluses, or operating expenditures. We must come up with some creative ways to deal with that…”
2015-2018 WWEA contract approved.
Passed 5-1, Jim Gambaiani voted No, Jim Mathieson absent
Other chances to cut spending that were missed:
November 13, 2013
The board voted 5-2 to hire Unicom for $49,500 as consultants for conducting community engagement (Engage200 meetings). Jim Gambaiani and Jim Mathieson voted “no.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2015/02/wheaton-warrenville-cusd200-engage200/
May 29, 2014
The board voted 5-2 to forgive Dr. Harris the $40,000 fine for breaking his employment contract. Jim Gambaiani and Jim Mathieson voted “no.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2014/07/district-200-superintendent-leaving-40000-gift/
Dec. 13, 2016
The board voted 6-1 to approve Dr. Schuler’s (superintendant) new contract. In his statement, Jim Gambaiani said “I believe a salary freeze should be part of the superintendent contract along with eliminating automatic annual salary increases. There are many elements within the contract that I do support, but these 2 items are show stoppers.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2017/12/cusd-200-lavished-dr-schuler-with-more/
January 11, 2017
The board voted 6-1 to place $132.5 million referendum on the ballot. Jim Gambaiani (the sole “NO” vote gave his reasons for not supporting the referendum) “…Over the past 12 years, the average amount budgeted for building maintenance was less than half a million dollars. Over the past 3 years, this district spent nearly $350,000 to study, survey, re-evaluation to gather data for the master facilities plan. In the end, we finally confirmed most of what was already identified” Tonight this board passed the Sherman Dergis policy thus providing an alternate funding source. “…Personal property taxes have increased 42% and total district salaries and benefits increased nearly $27 million…” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2017/02/cysd-200-132-5-million-referendum-placed-on-the-ballot/
August 17, 2017
The board voted 6-1 to approve the renewal of Administrator contracts. They renewed them with a 1-year salary freeze. However, as Jim Gambaiani said in explaining his “no” vote, they still have $600,000 pension pick up, $850,000 benefits, and $25,000 per employee maximum retirement bonus. https://dupagewatchdog.org/2017/08/cusd-200-whos-in-charge/
May 9, 2018
The board voted 6-1 to approve a new 4-year teachers’ contract for the years 2018 to 2022. Jim Gambaiani read his prepared statement: “…The financial impact of this contract will place the district in deeper financial stress. The current 5-year budget forecast reflects a deficit of nearly $8 million. Approval of this contract will add an additional $13 million pushing the total 5-year deficit to $21 million…” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2018/05/cusd-200-teachers-contract-what-is-in-it/
June 14, 2018
The board voted 6-1 to approve the renewal of Administrator contracts. Jim Gambaiani who voted “no” because he sees it as too much money with all the other recently approved and proposed spending.” https://dupagewatchdog.org/2018/06/cusd-200-public-relations-cost-admin-taises/
Feb 12, 2014
Not a vote. But Jim Mathieson explains why we will always be in debt and how debt can be used to get around the tax cap limitation. https://dupagewatchdog.org/2014/03/cusd-200-will-always-be-in-debt/