According to Henigman-Neal, the main purpose of seeking additional local revenue is simple.
"We don’t want to impact the learning environment of our students," she said.
Henigman-Neal said the financial problems facing the district have been a long-simmering problem for the school board.
"We simply need to meet this head on," Henigman-Neal said.
In her presentation, Henigman-Neal outlined some of the proposals to close the $1 million budget shortfall. Included were the 14.03 percent increase in the property tax levy, which is expected to bring in an additional $322,000; freezing administrators’ pay; closing the Ridge Farm Elementary School at a projected savings of $300,000; and closing the unit district office building.
Many in the audience spoke out against the property tax increase as well as the closing of Ridge Farm Elementary School.
Paul Janosik spoke out against the tax increase.
"I pay nearly $27,000 in property taxes now and don’t like the idea of paying more," Janosik said. "Have you asked the Georgetown-Ridge Farm School Foundation for help?"
Mayor Sharon Simmons of Ridge Farm questioned why the tax hearing notice was not publicized more.
"You only posted it in the (Champaign) News-Gazette. People in this area don’t read the News-Gazette," said Simmons. "It should have been published in the Independent News or Commercial-News."
Simmons also said her village has had to make cuts for several years in order to live within its means.
"Why has the district not been cutting costs before this?" Simmons asked. "We have a lot of senior citizens living on fixed incomes who simply cannot afford more taxes."
Simmons also spoke against the closing of the Ridge Farm elementary building.
"Why were we blindsided by this decision?" Simmons asked. "This is an atrocity against our community. We are a struggling community and now you do this to us?"