Editorials

Paying for a path to Rhodes or the streets?

Detach 189 Meeting

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Consumers expect those delivering goods to compete for their business: 20 percent more for less, new and improved, works better than the leading bargain brand. Competition in the marketplace drives efficiency and excellence.

Too bad taxpayers can’t more easily shop their local brands, putting their taxes where they get the best return.

Residents of the French Village neighborhood in Fairview Heights want to go shopping. They for decades have sought to escape the high taxes and low quality turned out by East St. Louis School District 189. There is a new push to sever ties to District 189 and send the community’s children to Grant Elementary District 110 and Belleville High School District 201.

Organizer Kevin Sheridan provides a good example of why they want to make the move. He paid $2,985 last year in property taxes to District 189. He would have paid $1,645 combined to Grant and Belleville.

What does he get for that money? East St. Louis’ best school can’t even get 5 percent of its students to meet the new state standards. Half of the Belleville high-schoolers meet the standard and at Grant it is 22 percent.

More for less by switching brands.

Not to mention, property values and growth potential are stunted in French Village. Renters don’t want to send their kids to District 189, people don’t want to buy a house in the school district and existing homeowners face a penalty for home improvements because they will pay nearly double in taxes what their Fairview Heights neighbors would pay for the same upgrades.

Sheridan and the French Village revolutionaries are fighting taxation without representation by trying to elect one of their neighbors to penetrate the Fortress 189 school board. They are also taking the skirmish to the school administration hierarchy and the courts.

Here’s hoping they succeed. Maybe the threat of losing more students and the tax dollars that follow them will finally do what decades of state oversight and state threats have been unable to accomplish within East St. Louis School District 189: Force achievement.

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