Endorsement: Yes to District 116

The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted10/17/2014 1:01 AM

For the second time this year, Round Lake Unit District 116 officials are asking taxpayers to support borrowing and debt restructuring to fund a major expansion and renovation of Round Lake High School. The Nov. 4 ballot question is similar to one voters defeated in March, but the need that we saw then still remains. The proposal would raise $29 million and allow for the district's tax rate to remain steady for 16 years. That's five years longer and will cost taxpayers about $3,600 more than if the current debt payment remains in place. Without the referendum, taxpayers would see the tax rate rise the next four years, then begin to decline. The aim is to address years of overcrowding. District officials say the school was built for 1,300 students, but enrollment has swelled to 2,100. Officials expect enrollment to rise by another 100 until it levels off. Accommodations include use of 12 mobile classrooms and a split schedule. If the measure is approved, officials would add 30 classrooms -- including 24 traditional and four science, technology, engineering and math labs -- and improve building flow and upgrade technology. Supporters say it will be a facility for 21st century learning. Round Lake High is not such a place now, and the limitations hamper students and instructors. There is some financial impact on taxpayers, but this proposal is worth the benefits. We urge a yes vote.

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