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No ‘blank check’

To the editor:

Gavin District 37 Community, Gavin School District proposed on the March 20 ballot that, if passed by voters, will provide adequate funding for much-needed life-safety repairs and replacements, which include roof and parking lot repairs, HVAC upgrades, and asbestos abatement.

Funding also provides technology upgrades including modern facilities for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) instruction and learning as well as converting the library into a 21st-century media learning center. The proposal received wide support from community, faculty, and especially students, who are eager for an educational environment equal to those students in neighboring communities.

DSEB, Debt Service Extension Base, will provide funding for these projects.

A DSEB enables a school district to issue bonds on a nonreferendum basis. The referendum will not increase the amount of property taxes paid by homeowners for the district’s debt service (principal and interest) payments. The district’s debt service payment in levy year 2017 is $501,000. With the sale of nonreferendum bonds against a DSEB, the district’s annual debt service payment will be $500,000 for 20 years. With this proposal, voters can guarantee that the district’s annual debt service payment will never exceed $500,000.

A small group of the community has confused the DSEB with a “blank check,” which is not an accurate analogy. It’s true that in 20 years, after the $5.96 million the district borrows is paid off, the school can borrow money again; however, the district’s annual debt service payment will never exceed $500,000. Although the school can reissue bonds without a 30-day petition period for certain life-safety necessities, most expenses require a 30-day petition period held by the district. If 10 percent of registered voters sign a petition against the proposed expenses during this time, then the proposal must go to a vote at the next election.

Jason Cappert

Lake Villa

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