Endorsement: Yes to building improvements in Barrington Dist. 220
Almost a year ago, voters in Barrington Area Unit District 220 narrowly rejected the schools' request for $185 million to pay for a variety of building projects. Since then, the school board has pared 20 percent off its request in hopes that voters will be more receptive this March.
The district is seeking $147 million to build additional elementary and middle school classrooms and a physical education center at Barrington High School as well as to pay for needed upgrades throughout the district to school safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Because some debt is being retired next year, the new proposal will not add anything to taxpayers' bills, but it will have an impact. If it passes, the tax bill for the owner of a $500,000 home will drop $75. Without the spending, that homeowner would see a $468 tax reduction.
That's not inconsequential, of course. But the district's needs are real, and supporters note that if it doesn't take advantage now of historically low interest rates, the cost of meeting them is only going to get higher.
Instead of trying to persuade a couple hundred more voters to support a renewal of its previous request, the district has responded to last year's defeat with a significantly revised proposal, showing a sincere willingness to consider community concerns. Moreover, the case for making the improvements and making them now is compelling. We recommend a yes vote.