Kane County voters will get their say on a new high school, higher sales tax

Voters throughout Kane County will face tax increase requests on primary ballots this March.

Here’s a rundown of those referendum issues:

Central Unit District 301

Voters in the Burlington-based district are being asked, again, to borrow money to build a new high school. But this time, a different location has been proposed.

The new school would be built at 9N636 Route 47, which is south of Plato Road. The site would connect to the current Central High School campus.

Voters will decide whether to replace Central High School in Burlington with a new building. Brian Hill/Daily Herald, 2020

The new high school would accommodate at least 2,400 students. It would include a fieldhouse and a stadium with artificial turf.

To do this, the district is asking permission to borrow $195 million.

According to the district, the owner of a $336,800 home would pay $141 more a year in property taxes, starting in 2027. The owner of a $400,000 home would pay $170 more a year, according to the district.

The district’s facilities plan also calls for turning the current Central High into a middle school and adding 20 rooms to the building. District officials say they will pay for that work using $15 million already on hand.

An aerial image shows where a new Central High School would built if voters approve borrowing $195 million. Courtesy of Central Unit District 301

“The classroom addition is to alleviate immediate challenges with our student enrollment but does not address our concerns of student parking, fine arts and cafeteria space challenges,” said Matt Rodewald, spokesman for the district.

He said a focus group showed residents want sixth- through eighth-grade students housed together. Currently, sixth and seventh grades are at Prairie Knolls Middle School and an eighth-grade center at Central Middle School.

Prairie Knolls would become an elementary school. Central would become an early childhood center.

Voters last March rejected a request to borrow $195 million. That plan called for building the new high school on Rohrsen Road. The district says it heard from some voters that they were concerned about the floodplain at that site, water use, railroad safety and an increase in traffic.

The district says its schools are at 90% capacity or more and expects enrollment to grow as new subdivisions are built.

The current high school has a capacity of 1,400; this fall, 1,348 students were enrolled, according to the state board of education.

Aurora Township Fire

The Aurora Township Fire Protection District is seeking to increase its property tax rate for operations.

The question asks permission to raise the tax rate by 56%, from 52 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation to 81 cents. In 2022, the district levied $482,000 in property taxes.

The district has about 7,500 residents in unincorporated Aurora Township and part of Montgomery. According to its annual financial report, it has 45 part-time workers.

North Aurora

Residents of North Aurora will decide whether to double the local non-home-rule sales tax. The village currently charges one-half-cent per $1 spent on general merchandise. If the increase is approved, it would be 1 cent. The non-home-rule sales tax does not apply to groceries, medications or titled vehicles. While the tax money can be spent on anything, village officials have said they plan to use it for building a new public works facility and other capital projects.

Pingree Grove

  Pingree Grove is asking voters for permission to charge an extra sales tax. Rick West/

Pingree Grove residents will decide whether the village should institute a non-home-rule sales tax of 1 cent per $1 spent on general merchandise. It would not apply to groceries, medications or titled vehicles. Village officials estimate it would give the village an additional $325,000 to $350,000 a year and say it could pay for additional public works and police employees.

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