R.E.A.C.H. to fight tax plan

R.E.A.C.H. to fight tax plan

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

R.E.A.CH., at its monthly meeting Monday night, voted to launch a petition drive to require the school district to abandon a proposed “backdoor” referendum and put the proposition before the voters.

Dr. Alan Brown, superintendent of District 205, recently revealed the district might use such a referendum to slip through a tax increase in order to get money to pay back the tax protesters.

“This is a terrible thing to do to this community now that the litigation is settled,” said Barb Dent of R.E.A.CH. She said that plan was not presented to the present school board, but one member of the incoming board knew about it. Chicago attorney Bob Howard also had learned of it, she said.

Dent said there is no present timetable for beginning the petition drive because the school district probably will take no action before January or February.

“We are looking for others to help us form a coalition,” Dent said. “The honest approach is to put it before the voters.”

Dent commented that if the school district removed the ineffective court-mandated programs as of June 30, it would have a surplus of $9 million to $10 million at a minimum. That would be enough to pay the tax protesters over a three-year period. It also would be necessary to remove some of the layers of bureaucracy generated by the desegregation lawsuit.

“They have the money,” Dent said, “it’s a matter of how they spend it.”

R.E.A.CH. members also voted to urge the school district to send a second notice to those protesters who waived their rebates, informing them they have the right to change their minds in light of a potential tax increase.

Dent said she estimates the district is about two years away from state intervention. “If the overspending continues,” she said,”state intervention is inevitable.”

Anyone wanting to assist in the petition campaign may contact R.E.A.CH. at 749-1900.

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