Answering questions about Round Lake Area Unit District 116 referendum question
Round Lake Area Unit District 116 next month will try for a second time to gain voter permission to borrow $29 million for a high school expansion and renovation.
Following are questions and answers about the measure on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Q: What exactly does the district want from taxpayers?
A: District 116 needs voter approval to raise $29 million through a sale of bonds to investors and to restructure debt for the proposed work at Round Lake High School.
Q: Is there more a voter needs to know about the financial end?
A: Should the measure pass, school officials say they can stabilize the tax rate for 16 years, while debt would be extended by five years at a total cost of about $3,600 more for an owner of a $100,000 house than if the current repayment schedule remains in place. If the ballot question is rejected again, property owners would see the tax rate increase the next four years, then begin to decline.
Q: District 116 tried this before?
A: Yes. Last March, voters rejected the borrowing question by an 800-657 vote. School board members agreed in the summer to try again Nov. 4.
Q: What's up with Round Lake High?
A: It was built for 1,370 students, but it now houses about 2,100 teenagers, according to school figures. Students are on two daily schedules because of the space problems, officials said. In addition, the school now has 12 classrooms in trailers serving 20 percent of the pupils at any given time.
Q: What type of work would occur at the high school?
A: Under the proposal, Round Lake High would receive 30 new classrooms, including four laboratories for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Plans also call for a new gymnasium to meet state physical education requirements, new student commons areas, improved building flow and upgraded technology and security.
Q: How big would the school become?
A: An expansion would bring the high school's maximum capacity to 2,288 students and lead to removal of the portable classrooms and dual schedules, according to District 116. Construction would start in spring or fall 2015.
Q: Anyone against this referendum question?
A: Opposition surfaced late in the first attempt in March. The Illinois branch of Americans for Prosperity, a taxpayer advocacy group, used a telephone bank to contact potential voters to encourage rejection of the measure.