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posted: 2/21/2014 5:01 AM

Endorsement: Yes to debt restructure for RLHS expansion

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Voters in Round Lake Unit District 116 are being asked to consider a debt restructuring that would pay for a major expansion of Round Lake High School. Under the proposal, which would raise $29 million, the tax rate remains steady for the next 15 years, something supporters are quick to point out. Without the referendum, taxpayers would see that rate rise for the next five years, then drop for seven, after which the bond is paid off. The referendum asks that the payments be extended by three years. District 116's successful 2006 referendum was supposed to fund construction at both the high school and a middle school, but the high school saw little of the money. The current measure creates an oversight committee to ensure the funds are used precisely for what they are intended. Meanwhile, the high school is 750 students over capacity, and while a patchwork of solutions, including mobile classrooms and a dual bell schedule, have eased crowding somewhat, enrollment continues to increase. The district emerged a few years ago from state financial oversight, and new leaders have made remarkable progress getting the house in order. The need is great, the safeguards are in place, the impact on taxpayers is moderate and the time is right. We urge a yes vote.

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