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DeKalb School District 428 Board to vote on controversial welcoming resolution

DeKALB –­ A welcoming resolution which caused controversy at the last DeKalb School District 428 Board meeting is up for a vote Tuesday.

The welcoming proclamation would ensure no student’s immigration status can be disclosed to federal immigration officers, and drew mixed reactions Nov. 19 after some board members questioned its necessity. Others said it is important to send a public message that students and their families are welcome in District 428 regardless of citizenship status.

Board member Jeromy Olson has said the district can’t protect students from federal officers anyway, and that the resolution was setting up District 428 to be a “sanctuary district.”

Fellow member Valerie Pena-Hernandez has said the document would be “giving students dignity” in a time where political climates and national rhetoric has made those in immigrant, especially Hispanic, communities fear for their safety.

District 428 Superintendent Jamie Craven has said state and federal law already prohibits the district from inquiring about or disclosing information related to citizenship to any Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, according to district documents. He said he was approached by members of the immigration advocacy group Welcoming Western Counties in August.

In other news, the board also will hold a public hearing before a vote on the 2019 tax levy, which would save taxpayers with properties valued at $150,000 about $6 on the District 428 portion of their 2019 tax bill.

District 428 collects the most amount of money from property tax bills among other taxing bodies in the city of DeKalb.

The levy, which sets the rate at 7%, marks the second consecutive year the district could choose to not raise taxes.

The decrease is because of $2.2 million in bond abatements, documents show.

According to the district’s budget, 49% of the district’s operating funds come from property taxes, with the second-highest source of revenue coming from state funding, which is expected to increase by 10% from fiscal 2019 because of a budgeted $2.9 million increase in state funding for fiscal 2020, according to figures from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Board members also expressed support for capturing the revenue expected from tax increment finance districts returning to the tax rolls in 2020.

The district could receive $5.1 million from the TIF district known as TIF 1 and $14.8 million from TIF 2, which expired Dec. 31, 2018.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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