O’Fallon has excellent schools — a point of pride among residents and a reason to choose a home here. Schools are expensive, great schools often more so. When District 90 had financial difficulties three years ago, the board worked with the administration, parents and unions to regain a better financial condition. Now it’s District 203 with financial woes, and its board is working through some difficult tradeoffs.
The 1 percent school facility sales tax would reduce financial pressures for many school districts — but only temporarily.
And that temporary-ness is a problem. School boards are under tremendous parental pressure to fund whatever the latest parental push is, even when it’s after-school clubs or teams. Those are certainly useful educational experiences — but it would be ridiculous to claim a child is uneducated if there were no such extracurricular activities.
Even though most boards have promised to reduce property taxes by rebating part of the sales taxes they receive, parents will continue to demand boards somehow fund every need and want. So there’s never enough money. Boards seem unable say we can’t afford more,” or “our school is good enough.” Not until the budget can’t be met.
At some point, taxpayers will say, “Every year, school taxes go up. We’ve had enough. Our schools are excellent and they are good enough.”
Maybe this is the year. While I would like to see an alternate funding source for our schools, I do not trust the legislature to maintain current funding nor school boards to control costs.
Charles Pitts, Lebanon