DIXON – Mayor Jim Burke is not taking a stand in the teacher strike.
“I’m not knowledgeable on everything that has gone on or the school board’s financial position,” Burke said Thursday.
But he wanted to respond to one of the teacher union’s complaints to the school board.
In the days leading up to the strike, the union asked the school district why it agreed to relinquish to the city some of its property tax revenue to pay for downtown improvements.
A couple of years ago, the school board and other taxing bodies reached a deal to extend the life of the downtown tax increment financing district by a dozen years.
When a TIF district is created, a base value of the property within its borders is calculated, and for up to 23 years – sometimes extended to 35 – local taxing bodies such as schools collect taxes only at that base level.
According to the teachers union, the city will give up more than $1 million in potential tax revenue “that could have been used for educating students.”
Burke said the school board and other taxing bodies were right to extend the TIF district, saying downtown improvements ultimately benefit the entire town. When people look at moving to a town, he said, one of the things they look at is the downtown.
“The school district is not an island unto itself,” the mayor said. “The schools have a real stake in the city of Dixon. One of our goals is to grow the population of the city of Dixon. Population growth will bring more enrollment and state aid to the schools.”
We've put together a comprehensive resource page to help readers follow and track the negotiations.Click here to visit.