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posted: 1/4/2017 11:13 AM

West Chicago Dist. 94 considering referendum question

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  • Doug Domeracki

    Doug Domeracki

 
By Doug Domeracki
Community High School District 94 superintendent

The Community High School District 94 Board of Education is considering putting a referendum question on the ballot in April 2017 to authorize the sale of bonds to make much-needed infrastructure repairs and increase educational opportunities for students at West Chicago Community High School.

The district underwent a full infrastructure assessment of West Chicago Community High School, defining and prioritizing needs.

Sections of our building were built in 1926, 1955, 1967, 1978 and 1998.

As with a home, HVAC, roofs, boilers, plumbing, etc. all have a life cycle. Eventually, repairs become overwhelmingly expensive and these items must be replaced.

A window of opportunity exists now that provides the opportunity for the community to consider improvements to a building almost 100 years old.

In 1997, the community authorized the selling of bonds to build a classroom addition on to West Chicago Community High School. Those bonds are going to be paid off in 2017.

With the permission of the community through a referendum, the district can extend that tax rate and use those funds to make infrastructure improvements at the school over time. This can be done without an increase to the current tax rate.

The board is currently balancing infrastructure needs with providing increased educational opportunities for students. One option being considered is to increase trade and vocational options for students who may or may not attend college, so we are graduating students who can immediately become productive members of society.

The ability to provide a new course is dependent upon space. The current facility doesn't provide this additional space, although the 1998 addition was built to accommodate a second floor for future expansion.

The board has presented two projects to the community through a phone survey and an internet survey to determine interest in renovations to the high school. But the board would like to broaden its reach to even more stakeholders.

Residents of District 94 may attend one of two community forums that are being planned at the high school, 326 Joliet St., West Chicago. The first is at 6 p.m. Jan. 10 in Commons, and the other is at noon Jan. 14 in the Learning Resource Center -- use Entrance H on the south side of the building for either meeting.

If the board decides to put a referendum proposal on the ballot, it would need to make the decision by its Jan. 17 meeting.

More information will be available on the district's website at www.d94.org.

• Doug Domeracki is superintendent of West Chicago Community High School District 94. His column appears monthly in Neighbor during the school year.