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Clearing the air

Hermes sets rumors straight

SPRING VALLEY — At Wednesday’s Spring Valley Elementary School Board meeting, Superintendent Jim Hermes cleared the air about rumors of residents’ property taxes “going through the roof” now that the John F. Kennedy’s new building addition is nearing completion.

Hermes assured there will not be a jump in taxes due to JFK.

“Actually people have been paying for our building for the past five years,” he said. “I think that’s kind of been the misconception, because you didn’t see any progress for several years, then all of a sudden, you see the walls go up and the building is here.

“If anything, our tax rate will stay the same. Some years it drops and other years it bumps up by minimal pennies,” he continued.

Hermes also reminded people that 75 percent of the addition project was funded by the state.

Board member Tom Vallero pointed out that Spring Valley residents will most likely see a tax increase, but it would not be from the SVE School District.

“Not to point fingers,” he said. “They might be going up, but don’t blame the people at JFK. This has been in the process for years.”

Board President Ray Nolasco assured residents the school board had planned for the addition project and saved money knowing that it would go into the building project, so there would not have to be money borrowed from the district’s working cash fund.

Board member Tracy Morris said residents’ next question might be, “when will taxes drop back down?”

Hermes said members of the school board in 18 to 20 years will have to make that decision.

“Will they keep it at that rate? Or possibly look into bonds to do an addition or repairs to the building?” he said.

Safe Routes to School discussion

In regards to the ongoing safe routes to school topic, which SVE School Board is working with Spring Valley Council to determine the safest routes for students to utilize, the school board wants a traffic study completed.

The council received a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to build sidewalks and install a traffic signal light at an intersection over Route 6, which would help students safely cross over the busy highway.

The school board has asked IDOT to complete a traffic study to determine which intersection over Route 6 would be best and safest for students. In the past, the school board and city council have not seen eye-to-eye on which intersection would be best for students.

The school board believes having a traffic study done of the area — from McDonald’s to Terry Street — would help determine which intersection would be best.

On Wednesday, board member Jack Kusek made the comment that a unbiased third party should complete the study.

Morris said a traffic study would also help determine what type of signal light would be best for the intersection.

“It would help determine what’s best for the students and the board would feel better standing behind that information,” she said.

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