October 20th, 2020
Wilmette School District 39 Continues to Mislead Public, Cover Up Illegal Ballot Language
WILMETTE, IL – Despite a recent change to the property tax code that clarifies how property tax increases are calculated, Wilmette School District 39 is choosing to continue its campaign to mislead residents over the illegal ballot language they used in a recent referendum that underestimated tax increases by more than a factor of 3.
Monday, District 39 issued a media release that mischaracterized the effect of Public Act 97-1087, which modified the Illinois Property Tax Code to explicitly include the effect of the State Equalization Factor, by saying that it “…reinforced that the District’s ballot language correctly followed Illinois law as it existed at that time.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the Act itself refers to its purpose as “clarification” of the very same language that Sorock’s lawsuit challenged, and insists, as did Sorock, that the State Equalization Factor must be used for tax increase calculations.
Sorock, along with Taxpayers United of America (TUA), had sued the District to reverse tax increases that were a result of illegal ballot language in an April 2011 referendum election.
“The District has all along defended its ballot language by asserting that the State Equalization Factor was not to be used,” said Sorock. “Now we have clear-as-day proof that the state legislature agrees with our position, but the District is choosing once again to cover up its miscalculation.”
While TUA recently filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit given the reluctance of the courts to enforce clear requirements of Illinois law, Sorock is heartened by Public Act 97-1087’s clarification.
“Rather than vindication for the District, the changes made by Public Act 97-1087 demonstrate that TUA and I were absolutely correct in challenging the referendum ballot for its failure to conform to requirements of Illinois law. TUA and I knew the District’s ballot language was illegal eighteen months ago; that the District still claims otherwise defies common sense and strains credulity.”
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