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Directors OK budget in 6-3 vote


Special to The Press

The Parkland School Board granted final approval to the 2022-23 budget by a vote of 6-3 at the June 21 meeting.

President David Hein, Vice President Carol Facchiano, Robert Cohen, Lisa Roth, Annette Wilcox and Marisa Ziegler voted in favor.

Jarrett Coleman, Patrick Foose and Jay Rohatgi voted no.

The financial plan includes a 1.2-percent tax increase for the $216,244,747 budget, along with an appropriation of $5,074,177 from the district’s fund balance to cover the shortfall between revenue and expenditures.

The new rate of taxation will be 15.90 mills, up from 15.71 mills last school year.

The owner of the $245,193 average residential Parkland property will have a tax bill of $3,898, a $46.22 increase over the previous term.

That amount is partially offset by a gain in the Homestead/Farmstead credit which lowers the net impact to $17.64 for the average resident.

The value of the Homestead/Farmstead gaming credit is $139.92 per approved property which helps offset property taxes. The Homestead credit is $28.58 more than last year’s credit.

During public comment, Dean Browning advised the board to consider other options and impacts instead of the tax increase.

“You cannot look at this as a stand alone event,” said Browning, as he mentioned the inflationary costs of nearly everything. “Forego the tax increase. Use the reserve and go one more year without it.”

Resident Beth Whitehill-Finch commented.

“Please vote no on the proposal,” she said, suggesting looking at ways to save and cut spending.

Coleman said although “deficiencies of federal and state governments” caused the economic problems, the board has a way to react at the local level.

“There is no need to raise taxes,” Coleman said.

Foose also commented.

“The cost of necessities has risen,” Foose said. “The district must support our families in their hour of financial need.”

Rohatgi expressed his thoughts on the matter.

“I understand the need to be vigilant in meeting our district’s needs and maintaining our excellence,” Rohatgi said, adding some seniors on fixed income and families on free and reduced lunch are barely getting by.

“At this time, I don’t think raising taxes is something prudent I can support,” he added.

On the other side, Roth noted the increase in costs “of everything it takes to run the school district” and projected enrollment growth as factors in her vote to go along with the tax increase.

Facchiano said the $17 average impact is minimal. She expressed hesitation in using larger amounts from the fund balance.

‘I don’t want the district’s savings account to go down to zero,” Facchiano said.

Hein reported salaries, pensions, transportation, special education and payments to charter schools have all increased.

“We looked at every expenditure to make sure it was needed and necessary,” Hein said.