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District 65 Seeks Operating Referendum
On January 10, 2017, District 65 school board members unanimously approved a resolution to put a question on the April 4, 2017 election ballot asking for community authorization to increase property taxes to support school operations. Over the past year, the board and administration have thoughtfully discussed potential options to address the district’s impending financial crisis, including a referendum.
Starting next school year, District 65 is facing significant budget shortfalls with a cumulative deficit reaching $112 million by 2025. A successful referendum would increase annual property tax revenue available to District 65 by $14.5 million and would eliminate current projected deficits through 2025. The proposed ballot question will provide the Evanston/Skokie community with an important opportunity to weigh in before significant cuts would have to be made to balance the budget.
Below are some general questions regarding the proposed operating referendum. Please stay tuned to this page and be sure to check out the links on the left-hand side of this page including the Frequently Asked Questions and Resources pages to gain a better understanding of the district's financial situation, the proposed referendum, and the impact to our students, schools, and community.
On the April 4, 2017 Consolidated General Election ballot, registered voters in the Evanston/Skokie community will have the opportunity to vote on a referendum that would increase property taxes to further support school operations in District 65.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an operating referendum?
An operating referendum increases property tax revenues in order to support educational expenses including instruction, student support services, capital and financial investments, and other necessary district operations.
What does the proposed $14.5 million referendum cover?
Without a successful referendum, the district will be forced to make drastic cuts - $8.8 million in reductions over the next two years alone. The proposed referendum would eliminate the need for these reductions and would also cover the funding of technology expenses within the operating budget, one reading specialist to support each elementary school, the opportunity to maintain and expand the 1:1 technology program in middle schools, funding for necessary capital improvements across the district including completion of double-door entry at five remaining schools, and additional contributions to the district’s fund balance.
What impact would a successful referendum have on taxpayers?
The proposed bond measure would cost a owner paying the average amount of property tax in Evanston an estimated additional $470 or $39 per month (based on estimated property tax payment of $8,076 in 2016).
How did we get here?
District 65 has faced a structural deficit for many years with increasing enrollments, increasing costs, and limited revenues. Over the past seven years, the district has made $10.8 million in reductions to balance its budget. Future deficits are sizeable and will become significantly larger if no further action is taken. As a result, there are two options for moving forward - making continued painful reductions ($8.8 million over the next two years alone) or increasing revenue through an operating referendum.
Click here to view a full list of frequently asked questions.