Salary increases, property tax spikes, and school board tensions

by Melanie Jongsma, Publisher

LANSING, Ill. (March 29, 2021) – Last February The Lansing Journal published a 2,000-word story about salary increases for the Mayor, Village Clerk, and Trustees that were proposed at a Village Board meeting. Lansing Journal reporters were there at that meeting, and we carefully summarized the discussion as well as providing some historical background. We also listed contact info so readers with questions could ask their elected officials.

What happened? Lansing residents read that article and contacted their elected officials to express their opinions. In June the Board voted on an amended proposal.

IN DECEMBER we published a story about the dramatic spike in property taxes that Lansing businesses might be facing. Josh Bootsma spent hours interviewing local business owners, studying Cook County’s taxing formulas, and organizing all that detail into a clear chart and an understandable article. His 2,000 words captured the frustration of small-business owners who want to stay in Lansing but simply don’t know if they financially can.

What happened? The Cook County Assessor’s Office read that article and responded. Chief Communications Officer Scott Smith met with Lansing business owners, made a public comment at a Village Board meeting, and attended a District 158 School Board meeting. “In some cases, there were errors in assessments,” Smith publicly stated, “and we have taken steps to correct them.” Assessor Fritz Kaegi also requested an interview with Josh, and they spoke for over an hour.

“It was your coverage,” said Smith when asked what prompted the Assessor’s Office to reach out.

IN FEBRUARY we published a summary of the lengthy contract negotiations that had embroiled Sunnybrook School District 171 for many months. The interactions between the teachers union, the School Board, the bargaining team, and the mediator were complicated, but reporter Jennifer Yos walked readers through the process chronologically, fact by fact. “We really want the community to be aware if the seriousness of this issue,” wrote a member of the district who felt that a teacher strike was a real possibility. Jennifer followed up two weeks later with an article describing the eventual District 171 contract agreement.

What happened? Through The Lansing Journal’s reporting, Lansing families gained a better understanding of the dynamics affecting their children’s education. Some people felt strongly enough about the situation that they decided to run for School Board.

Without The Lansing Journal

Without The Lansing Journal fewer than 50 people would know about the decisions being discussed at Village Board meetings.

Without The Lansing Journal Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi would be unaware that his reassessments are forcing our businesses to leave town.

Without The Lansing Journal ordinary citizens who volunteer to run for School Board, Park Board, Village Board, or other public office would have to spend thousands of dollars of their own money to let voters know what they stand for.

Lansing needs this newspaper

I believe our community deserves to have a newspaper that is making this kind of difference. And I’m hopeful that readers like you—who pay taxes, and vote, and shop local, and want a good life for your families—understand the difference that a balanced, reliable, local newspaper makes.

What happens? That’s up to you.

This newspaper needs you

Will you become a monthly supporter of your community newspaper?

Or will you make a one-time investment in quality community coverage?

(Prefer to write a check? That helps too. Make checks out to The Lansing Journal and mail to PO Box 742, Lansing IL 60438.)

The Lansing community needs The Lansing Journal. And The Lansing Journal needs community support.

Together we can keep making a difference in our community, for our community.

without the lansing journal



  1. Support the Lansing Journal.
    It is informative. It covers everything in our community from our community. Why is that important?
    Because it is our community. We live in it, and what is decided here with our elected officials can affect us all, in one way or another.
    All of us need to be aware of what’s happening in our government. Before the Lansing Journal there was no easy direct way to know what was and is happening.
    It’s not hard to support the Lansing Journal.
    Doesn’t take alot of money.
    I have financially supported the Lansing Journal for about 3 years now, i think. Three dollars a month comes out of my account automatically. I am on a fixed income, yet this I can do.
    We all have things we support. Things that are important us, that we don’t buy, but we support.
    We pick and choose.

    Thank you Lansing Journal for the work that you do to get out this paper online and in physical form. For your professionalism, for your integrity, for caring for our Village enough to help us, Lansing resident, be informed.

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