“I’m an 18-year resident of the city of West Chicago. We’ve lived in the same exact house for 18 years.”

“We have watched our property taxes go from $2,800 when we first bought the home in 2002 to roughly $8,200 according to our reassessment last spring.”

“There have been multiple referendums in order to raise the taxes for the school districts. We’ve supported most of them knowing that good school systems should translate into better property value.”

“We live in a small town of around 27,000 people, so I am boggled by the fact that we are split up among five school districts: 25, 33, U-46, 94, and District 303.”

“My children attend District 33 and District 94. 70% of our property taxes go to these districts.”

“Our middle school has almost 1,400 students. Honestly, we have amazing teachers, but I think there are just too many kids in the building.”

“If you consider the surrounding towns, such as Saint Charles, or Wheaton, their town populations are much larger, yet their middle schools are roughly half of the size of ours.”

“So, it is definitely a situation where we are spending a whole lot of money, but we are not really seeing any return in the way our property is valued compared to the other houses in town in different school districts.”

“Furthermore, dividing the town among so many school districts also divides the community.”

“I know a family in West Chicago about five minutes up the road from us whose children are bused to a high school in Elgin because they fall within District U-46. There’s a high school less than 20 minutes from their home, but they are bussed 40-45 minutes away because of the way the maps are drawn.”

“There’s a subdivision that’s a mile and a half from my house. Those families are in School District 25. School District 25 is highly rated, therefore the property value for the same size house on a slightly smaller lot is about $50,000 to $75,000 higher.”

“Keep in mind though, District 25, which is in West Chicago, serves less than 1,000 students between the two schools according to their website. To contrast, District 33, my district, has roughly 4,500 students. So, I’m a proponent of school district consolidation.”

“If you try to go outside of your district here in the state of Illinois, you will pay tens of thousands of dollars per school year per student.”

“Some families that are not happy with the school district send their children to private school – over $10,000 per year per student for K-8 or close to $20,000 per year at the high school level.
That’s as much as college tuition – a luxury we can’t afford.”

Megan Zentner
West Chicago, Illinois