'It's important that we get it right': Mundelein High School won't seek facilities referendum in March

Mundelein High School District 120 is skipping the March primary and instead will consider seeking voter support for a tax increase for facilities improvements in the November general election.

No action was taken Tuesday to put a referendum on the March ballot, meaning the opportunity passed as there are no more meetings this month. The last day to file a referendum question with the Lake County Clerk's office is Jan. 2.

The school board's finance and facilities committee recommended waiting until next fall to provide time for more public input and refine the proposed projects, according to District 120 spokesman Peter Gill.

A formal vote on whether to place a referendum on the November ballot is expected in 2024. School officials say work would proceed in spring 2025 if a referendum succeeded any time next year.

Voters last April rejected the district's request to borrow $175 million with 3,058 people against and 2,621 supporting the measure. A need to upgrade facilities still exists, according to the district.

In October, the district announced it had revised the plan and reduced the amount being sought to $149.5 million. Updated facility plans and tours were presented during open houses.

"We listened to our community and we heard that people wanted more information and more time to better understand the facilities needs," school board President Peter Rastrelli explained. "While the need is timely, it's important that we get it right."

Mundelein High School opened in 1961.

Work continues on various elements of the plan, including safety and security improvements; repairing and replacing outdated, inefficient mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems; adding classrooms and creating a space for the Career and Technical Education program; and, expanding kitchen, dining and other common areas.

The scope of the proposed project was modified but the district still planned to use $50 million in existing funds toward improvements.

The revised plan presented last fall dropped the overall project cost from $225 million to $199.5 million. There has been no indication whether that amount would be further reduced.

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