A $175 million tax increase for Mundelein High renovation/expansion would be phased in
A proposed tax hike to raise $175 million to renovate and expand Mundelein High School would be phased in over three years to soften the blow, according to school officials.
The new approach, announced Monday in tandem with times and dates for public presentations and tours, is meant to temper the initial increase to taxpayers in Mundelein High School District 120.
The first town-hall meeting will begin with a one-hour presentation at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mundelein High School, 1350 W. Hawley St. A tour will follow from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The same schedule is planned for sessions on Feb. 8 and 23 and March 8 and 16. Visit D120.org for details about the meetings and referendum.
Voters in District 120 will be asked on the April 4 ballot whether to allow the district to borrow money by issuing bonds to pay for the work.
School officials say they hope to spend $225 million for the overall plan. The district already has set aside $50 million, so the taxpayer ask is $175 million.
When the decision to seek voter approval was announced earlier this month, the annual tax increase to the owner of a home valued at $300,000 was estimated at $690. The amount for the same value home has been revised to $320 the first year, $550 the second year and $690 the third and subsequent years if the measure were approved.
"Initially we were planning on a single rate increase," said district spokesman Peter Gill. "We found a better way to schedule the payments that could help our property owners."
The numbers could drop slightly in future years if property values increase. District 120 has the third-lowest tax rate among Lake County high school districts, officials say.
"We realize this is a big investment by our community, so we wanted to do whatever possible to make it less of an increase in the first couple of years," Superintendent Kevin Myers said in announcing the revision and upcoming public sessions.
"The hope is that as Mundelein continues to grow, there will be a greater tax base to draw from to pay off the bonds," he added.
The renovation/expansion surfaced after the school board in fall updated a 5-year-old facilities plan, studied what was available at other area high schools, and determined what was needed at MHS.
The plan includes expanding performing arts with a new auditorium, black box theater and larger music rehearsal rooms; adding to the field house for physical education and track and court sports; building new athletic spaces and a competition gym; and expanding the cafeteria and renovating the kitchen.
Increased multipurpose space and commons areas throughout the school, as well as enhanced or expanded space for career and technical education, also are envisioned as part of the plan.
Mundelein High School opened in 1961. Significant additions were made in 1988, 1991 and 1997, and a $23.7 million STEM addition opened in 2016.
The original building was designed for 1,500 students, and the current enrollment is about 2,200.