Homewood Chocolate Fest offers sweet alternative to winter blahs

Every vote counts!

That is the message District 153 supporters are stressing as they share information about the March 15 referendum.

The Homewood schools district got more than 80 percent approval for the 2011 referendum, but supporters say they aren’t taking anything for granted this year.

“We don’t want people to feel comfortable about the success of the referendum. We don’t want to hear anyone say ‘My vote won’t matter.’ We need every vote,” said Tabitha Stine, a member of Citizens for Homewood Schools communications committee.

Voter turnout is expected to be high because of the presidential primaries. Volunteers are working to make certain every Homewood voter is informed about the school district’s finances and the impact the referendum will have on schools before they get their ballot.

The 2011 referendum enabled the district to sell $7 million in bonds. The ballot question in March will ask voters to approve the sale of up to $9 million in bonds. The money will be used over the next seven years to help the district cover expenses. The district has seen a drop in revenues due to constant decreases in state funding and a decline in property values.

A broad information campaign has begun. Organizers have created 30-second video vignettes and a five-minute information video. The VoteYes153 Facebook page is routinely updated, and the District 153 website has a calculator function that can help homeowners determine what the referendum will mean to their tax bills.

The district uses the example of a home valued at $100,000. If the referendum is approved, taxpayers will see a bump of $70 in 2017 and 2018. For the remaining five years, the rate would fall back to the approximately $275 in referendum-approved taxes those homeowners are paying now.

Citizens for Homewood Schools will be hosting neighborhood coffees and is planning several public gatherings, including a 7 p.m. meeting on Feb. 17 at Homewood Village Hall and a 7:30 p.m. session on March 1 at Grape & Grain.

Tracie Moxley, field/canvassing coordinator, is looking for volunteers who will distribute signs, walk neighborhoods with information and canvass blocks to check voter rolls to help determine which voters are likely to come out for the referendum.

Citizens for Homewood Schools invites residents to view the informational videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEXFHuZHgC8 and at http://www.voteyes153.org

For additional information see the District 153 homepage at www.hsd153.org Volunteers can sign up at the referendum campaign’s page at www.voteyes153.org



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