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Lincoln Daily News
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Lincoln, IL  62656

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Vote 'no' for higher permanent local school taxes

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To the editor:

Citizens For Justice, Inc. is asking each local voter, regardless of their political party, to vote "no" regarding the Lincoln area permanent sales tax increase that will appear on local ballots on April 5.

We believe Lincoln area superintendents are out of touch with reality by even considering asking area residents for more money in this horrendous ongoing economic climate. Then we see that Lincoln area schools are loaded in layers of administrators throughout their management structure, both at District 27 serving our area elementary students as well as District 404 that serves our area high school. They both have kept and maintained their expensive assistants and support staff despite a continued decline year after year of incoming students in both the city elementary and high school districts, in addition to their loss of regular state school payments.

The local hospital year-end report for 2010 reported 55 fewer area births again in 2010 compared with 2009. This equates to at least two fewer classrooms down the road.

Again, despite each of them continuing to receive this information year after year, both of our city school superintendents have failed to properly adjust to the proper levels of administrators and/or staff.

Lincoln area schools could also serve as a poster child for Gov. Pat Quinn's plan for consolidating the state's present 868 school districts down to about 300. Of these 868 superintendents, 274 make more money than the governor of Illinois, and some of these 868 make more money than the president of the United States.

[to top of second column in this letter]

When we consider that the Lincoln area pays for five school superintendents and four of them are responsible for only one school each -- 1. Lincoln High School, 2. Chester-East Grade School, 3. West Lincoln Grade School and 4. New Holland-Middletown Grade School -- red flags appear. These school districts serve as little "kingdoms" for our five area superintendents.

Pete Fredericks and I led an unsuccessful effort to consolidate these same five school districts in the spring of 1998.

In the Lincoln Courier dated Oct. 19, 2010, in the front page lead story, titled "Dwindling student population looms at LCHS," assistant principal Ruth Sloot stated a fifth of the freshman class at LCHS was held back as freshmen again this year (2010-2011) from last year's class (2009-2010) and didn't advance to sophomore status. This equates to 1 in every 5 incoming freshmen cannot do freshman-level schoolwork.

This reflects a very serious problem in our local area schools that more money or pushing it under the rug will not fix. This pattern of ignoring very serious warnings will result in an extra-high number of local high school dropouts to try and navigate their way through the extremely difficult years ahead.

Does this information combined with our present economy make you want to invest more tax dollars into our local schools? Please join us in voting "no" at the polls for higher permanent local taxes April 5.

Lester C. Van Bibber III

[Posted March 04, 2011]

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