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Dist. 303 referendum dissident eyes open board seat
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/15/2008 4:56 PM

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Perhaps the most organized group of residents opposed to a potential tax increase by St. Charles Unit District 303 might earn a seat at the table through the vacant school board position. If he's appointed Wednesday night, Brian Litteral will add a dissenting viewpoint to a conversation that, so far, has pointed toward putting a $265 million referendum on the April ballot.

Litteral is a member of Citizens for Fiscal and Academic Responsibility (cfar303.org). He's not the president of the group nor an officer, mainly because the group has yet to elect or appoint any officers. However, Litteral promises he's one of a core of 10 founding members with roots in the Wild Rose Elementary School attendance area. He's actually the Homeowners Association president of Wild Rose Woods. It's the potential loss of much of the actual woods in that subdivision that first served as a call to action for Litteral and the CFAR group. Indeed, should Wild Rose School be rebuilt, as the referendum calls for, much of the trees that serve as the scenery for Litteral and his neighbors would be gone unless the Wild Rose students are relocated for a year while a new school is built on the identical footprint of the current building.

Beyond that, Litteral said he opposes the referendum because it doesn't make fiscal sense regardless of economic turmoil.

"What galls people the most is just the wastefulness of the money," Litteral said. "We're talking about a mind-boggling amount of money for bricks and mortar ($265 million). Are cinder blocks really what's going to drive up test scores? How about more teachers, better teachers and better programs?"

"Remember, the No. 1 issue at first was class sizes," Litteral continued. "It came down to money and that issue went away. If we can't afford the No. 1 issue, then I say we can't afford much at all."

Litteral will be one of three candidates hoping to get appointed to the school board seat vacated by Bob Lindahl last month. If he makes it, it'll be arguably the most visible sign of opposition to the question so far. The process, up to this point, has moved forward with only occasional vocal opposition from a few residents, Litteral among them. He believes the opposition has stayed at home so far as the result of a process that has the feeling of a done deal.

"People are throwing in the towel," Litteral said. "Why show up when the freight train in coming? People are somewhere between apathy and despair."