Voters Flunk District 201's $15 Million Tax-Increase

CHICAGO – By an almost 2-1 margin, J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 voters rejected a 64% property-tax-increase that appeared as a referendum on the November 7 ballot.

“District 201 Superintendent Ben Nowakowski has already threatened to put this $15 million property tax-increase referendum on the ballot again in the spring. I suggest he starts listening to the voters,” said Christina Tobin, the Vote No Coordinator for National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI) who actively opposed this referendum.

“The voters in Berwyn, Cicero, Stickney, and Lyons are telling Nowakowski and the school board that they need to stop spending more and more money every year. If that means cutting his own almost $200,000 salary or even freezing the other $100,000 salaries in the district, then that’s what he needs to do instead of wasting more money and resources on another referendum,” claims Tobin.

Ten percent of Morton’s full-time employees, including 51 teachers and administrators, were paid more than $100,000 in 2005. That number is most likely higher for this school year as another 38 were making more than $90,000 in 2005. Between 2000 and 2005, District 201’s total expenditures increased more than $14 million, 22 percent over the rate of inflation.

“With facts like those, District 201 taxpayers soundly voted the right way on this referendum and I am thankful they saw through the District’s sob stories,” adds Tobin. “If they come back with another referendum in the spring, we will be right out there again opposing this wasteful spending and the exorbitant salaries and benefits for teachers and administrators. They should learn their lesson and start managing the money better before the taxpayers give them another F grade for their failed scare tactics that didn’t fool the taxpayers.”

“Since 1977, NTUI and their members have defeated 189 property tax-increase referenda, while losing only 35 – a success rate of 84%. This is the fourth time NTUI has defeated a property tax-increase referendum for District 201 and the second time this year.

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