Barrington Dist. 220 discussing referendum for November ballot

Four years after its voters approved a $147 million bond issue to fund building upgrades, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 may be heading back to referendum this fall.

The district’s board of education has created a Referendum Advisory Committee to seek public feedback about a possible ballot question for the Nov. 5 general election.

The committee will hold the first of four planned meetings at 6 p.m. Feb. 28, at Barrington High School, 616 W. Main St. in Barrington.

That session will be followed by four community meetings, the first set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Barrington Middle School, 40 E. Dundee Road in Barrington.

The community meetings will feature a presentation, survey and chance to ask questions. Other sessions are set for 10 a.m. March 9, in the high school’s front atrium; 6 p.m. March 11, at Arnett C. Lines Elementary School, 217 S. Eastern Ave., Barrington; and via Zoom at 6 p.m. March 14.

The referendum committee is expected to make a final recommendation to the school board by June 4, officials said. The board then will decide by Aug. 19 whether to place a referendum on the fall ballot.

How much the district will seek and how it would be spent have not been determined.

Voters approved the $147 million referendum known as the Build 220 initiative in March 2020. But according to the district, the plan funded only 25% of its overall capital investment needs of $500 million to $600 million.

“Much work is still needed in our buildings to ensure our students learn in schools that meet our community’s high expectations,” officials state on the website, launched in conjunction with the upcoming community meetings.

The site states that areas in many buildings have not been addressed in decades, including the east side of the high school campus.

“One of the long-standing requests from the community continues to be a fine arts center at the high school,” the site states.

The current auditorium was built in 1960, is not ADA-compliant and retains much of the original equipment and seats from the first high school auditorium, built in 1948, according to the district.

Other projects that could be funded with a referendum include music rooms; science and technology labs; safety and security items, such as enhanced doors with keycard access; mechanical systems and plumbing; windows, doors and flooring; and middle school science classrooms.

In addition to the community meetings, the district plans to conduct phone surveys in March and April.

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