The following is a letter from Paul Gorney, a Wilmette-based real estate agent.
Obviously, after selling more than 700 homes over the last 20 years, I have a very strong, real-world idea of what is important and what is not to those involved in a real estate transaction. I have also lived in the immediate area my entire life.
People who BUY HOMES in Wilmette move here for ONE thing - the excellent (for now) schools! Most moving here, driving the real estate market, are moving from Chicago's expensive or poor schools. Most have school-age children. Being close to the train, lake and living in a quiet area are other attractions. But, nothing is more important than the schools. Potential buyers' thought process starts and ends with the schools. Let's be very clear: $700 extra in taxes is NOTHING to someone who would have to pay $10,000+ a year for private school in the city. This is a very simple FACT.
It's all too clear, there is no debating: If these people are told that the schools are being "cheapened", they will move elsewhere. Winnetka will be one obvious choice. The supply of homes for sale in Wilmette WILL increase when more move solely because of the weakened schools.
At the same time, the demand will dramatically DECREASE. Based on my experience, prices will most likely drop at least 3 to 5 percent for most homes in Wilmette.Would you rather pay $700 a year in taxes or lose $50,000+ when you sell your house? We MUST pass the referendum!
Early voting has begun, and the official election day is April 5.