Standing in front of the Board of Education on Monday night, citizen James Cullen held up page after page of white 8.5-by-11 paper, each with a hand-printed number on it, to illustrate the financial situation facing property owners in Geneva.
By doing so, Cullen offered his 2 cents, pleading for board action to lower the School District 304 debt and the burden on the average Joe and Jane homeowner.
Some of Cullen's numbers included:
17 percent increase—The hike the Cullen family saw year-over-year when they opened their 2012 property tax bill.
Minus 10 percent—Cullen said that's the Federal Reserve's estimate of median income decrease for Americans during the past 10 years.
Pensions represent "the huge problem ahead," Cullen said, and he used more numbers to say why full-scale reform is needed to "help the kids" once those students become adults.
12—The average age of School District 304 students.
13—years later, those students become adults.
16—years from now, those 12-year-olds will be buying a home, perhaps in Geneva. "I hope they can afford the property tax," Cullen said.
Cullen concluded with numbers associated with politics.
536 people work in Washington, D.C.—That includes 435 voting members of the House of Representatives, 100 U.S. senators and one president. "We pay a lot of attention to them," Cullen said.
7 members—of the Geneva School Board.
Cullen commended the School Board members for their service to the community, the countless hours they spend in that volunteer effort and the difficulty of the decisions they face.
"To my surprise—and I’m typical, my wife and I—our property tax exceeds substantially the income tax we pay to Washington and state of Illinois," he said.
4—The number of School Board seats up for election in April, 2013.
Cullen said he valued his elementary school education, where he learned many important values, such as the Golden Rule, hard work, fairness and justice.
He signed off with a final number.
65—"The average number of years our fine students in Geneva will be living afer they leave the School District, living with the financial burden of the decisions you folks make, with pensions particularly," he said.