Taxpayers United Files Petition With Ill. Supreme Court in Oak Park Dist. 97 Case

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On June 5, 2012, plaintiffs Taxpayers United of America (TUA) and Noel Kuriakos filed a “Petition for Leave to Appeal” with the Illinois Supreme Court regarding its lawsuit against Oak Park Dist. 97, which places the petition in the Court’s hamper of cases, whereby the Court will decide whether or not to hear the plaintiffs’ petition.
If the Court decides to accept the Petition for Leave to Appeal, it will then decide whether or not to hear plaintiffs’ appeal regarding the lawsuit.
The question presented to the Supreme Court is whether the state legislature intended to allow school districts to understate the amount of proposed real estate tax increases by three times when they put referenda on the ballot seeking voter approval of those increases.
In the Oak Park case, District 97 claimed in its property tax increase referendum that their proposed real estate tax increase would be just $37.40 on a home with a fair market value at the time of the April 5, 2011 election of $100,000. The true increase was in fact $126.04.
The difference between those two figures was due to the state equalization factor, which was 3.3701 for the tax period in question. Oak Park District 97 claimed it did not have to use the state equalization factor, which was how it was able to understate the real estate tax increase by over three times the actual amount.
Now it is up to the Illinois Supreme Court to decide whether it will accept this case for its decision on the matter.

Does Truth Matter?

OAK PARK—On Thursday, May 3, Taxpayers United of America (TUA) will canvass the streets of Oak Park with flyers in order to raise awareness about the deceptive referenda ballot language used by the Oak Park Government School District 97 in 2011. The district’s tactics resulted in a successful property tax increase.
TUA later filed suit on behalf of Oak Park Taxpayers, to end such deceptions.
Oak Park flyer
“When we challenged the deceptive activities of the School District, we knew it wouldn’t be easy,” said Christina Tobin, vice president of TUA, and Founder of Free and Equal Elections Foundation, “But the actions of the school board were so blatant, we had no choice.”
A shocking ruling by Judge Mary Mikva, on the lawsuit, basically said it was “ok” for the district to grossly understate the amount by which property taxes would increase.
But the suit also claims that the district knew in advance that the ballot grossly understated the property tax increase.
“The board didn’t just understate the tax increase. It led voters to believe that the property tax increase would be only $37.40 per $100,000 of their property value when in reality, it would be $126.04 per $100,000! That is nearly three times more than they told taxpayers it would be,” said Tobin.
The district admitted that it did not use the state equalization factor. If it had, the factor would have accurately calculated the proposed increase’s taxpayer impact.
TUA has appealed the Mikva ruling, because if the ruling stands, taxpayers could be legally misled in future, in school districts across the State, as to estimated property tax increases. The appeal has been filed in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We will take this case to the Illinois Supreme Court if necessary”, stated Tobin. “In the meantime, we are dedicated to educating the citizens of Oak Park about the issue. So expect to see a flyer in your neighborhood!”
NOTE: 80% of District 97 spending goes to salaries and benefits. All of the recent 67% state income tax increase is being used to fund the lavish pensions of retired government teachers and other employees. To view the top 100 pensions and salaries of Oak Park Government School District 97, click here.

Who’s There? Justice for Oak Park Taxpayers!

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OAK PARK—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) is taking their demand for justice to the streets of Oak Park. In a canvass blitz of Oak Park Government School District 97, TUA is pedaling awareness of the status of its lawsuit against the district.
“Every resident in the district needs to be aware of the political games being used to protect district leadership from the consequences of the electioneering that we allege to be illegal”, said Jim Tobin, president of TUA.
“TUA and Noel Kuriakos have filed an appeal to the unbelievable ruling of Chicago Machine judicial darling, Judge Mary Mikva, that basically approves of the district’s practice of knowingly grossly underestimating the amount by which property taxes would increase on the April 5, 2011 property tax increase referendum.”
“We are covering the district with flyers to make sure every taxpayer is aware of the tactics the district used to pass the property tax increase referendum and the remarkable approval of those tactics by Judge Mikva”, added Tobin.
“Like the others before it, this property tax increase has nothing to do with ‘the children’ and everything to do with preserving the generous salaries and benefits of the government school employees. 80% of District 97 spending goes to salaries and benefits”, said Tobin.
View the top 100 pensions and salaries of Oak Park Government School District 97 (PDF).
“The lavish pensions of the government school employees are paid by the 67% income tax surcharge passed in 2011. The average government teacher pension of those who have retired in the last two years is $65,000.”
“We are not going to be intimidated and we are not going away. We are just waiting for dates for oral arguments or a ruling in the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. This is just the next step in the process that we will see to the end”, stated Tobin.
“The ‘status quo’ political gamesmanship is no longer acceptable.”