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Property tax rates see small decline

Tax rates for Forest Park were announced this month and both the school and municipal rates for 2007 decreased compared to the previous year. The village’s property tax rate for 2007 dipped slightly to 1.263 percent. For public schools, District 91, the rate also fell, down to 3.658 percent.

The rate for the Forest Park Library Fund, however, increased from .296 percent to .331 percent. The tax rate as set by the county is only one of several factors used to determine a property owner’s bill.

In 2006 the municipal tax rate was 1.286 percent and the school rate was 3.692 percent.

Property owners should expect to see the bills for the final installment of their 2007 taxes in October.

The proposal is driven in large part by a shrinking student body that could ultimately shutter one of the district’s five schools.

The Oct. 1 meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Subsequent meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Grant-White Elementary; 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 at Garfield Elementary; and 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Field-Stevenson Elementary.

Attendance plan to be vetted

A series of meetings held to give community members a chance to weigh in on a proposal that would restructure the District 91 attendance areas will begin Wednesday, Oct. 1 at the Betsy Ross Elementary School. Superintendent Lou Cavallo has suggested students be grouped according to their grade level, rather than their address. The change would mean students in junior-kindergarten through second grade would attend classes in one building while students in grades three through five attend another. Essentially, the only border within the district would divide the attendance areas into a north and south region, according to the plan.

“Half of our children would have to change schools,” Cavallo told board members earlier this month.

District pays another $5K for Welch

In his ongoing court battle with the school district’s former attorneys, District 209 board President Chris Welch continues to pass legal fees on to the taxpayers. At Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, Welch was reimbursed $5,451.45 for costs associated with a defamation suit filed against him in 2007. That suit, which does not name the district or the school board as defendants, claims Welch slandered attorneys Burt Odelson and Mark Sterk in a series of anonymous postings he made on an Internet blog.

The Sept. 22 payment brings the total amount of legal bills paid by the district in the case to more than $52,170. Both Welch and the district’s general counsel have justified the expense by arguing that Welch is an elected official 24 hours a day, therefore his actions are covered by the state’s indemnification laws.