With costs rising, District 15 considers borrowing more for improvement plan

The cost of Moving 15 Forward is rising, while the timeline for some of the work may be longer than expected, Palatine Township Elementary School District 15 officials say of their $186 million plan to renovate schools and create an all-day kindergarten program.

The school board Wednesday authorized borrowing an additional $12 million to fund construction costs, if needed. "It has become clear that inflation, added scope and current market conditions has significantly escalated prices," said Diana McCluskey, the district's chief school business official.

In order to stay within the $186 million budget, some of the work would have to be moved from a one- to five-year track to a six- to 10-year track or beyond, she added.

If deemed necessary, a final decision on the additional borrowing wouldn't come until after a public hearing in the fall, officials say.

"This is just an authorization ask, because we're not giving up," said James Kaplanes, the district's director of facilities and operations. "But the reality is that inflation has been significant from the time that we started this process to now."

Moving 15 Forward was put in motion after voters in November approved a $93 million tax hike to fund half the plan. The other half will be funded by existing revenue sources.

Besides full-day kindergarten and building upgrades, the plan includes redrawing school boundaries and replacing junior highs with middle schools for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

Any additional borrowing would be repaid with existing revenues and will not affect taxes, officials said.

Diana McCluskey
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