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VIDEO: Board Members Explain Why They’re Seeking $89 M Referendum for Improvements

District 113 Board members give rationale for voting to place school referendum on April ballot.

The District 113 Board of Education unanimously voted to seek an $89 million referendum from the community to help finance significant facility improvements at Deerfield and Highland Park High Schools. District 113 residents will vote on the referendum item during the April 9, 2013 consolidated election.

Board members explained their rationale for voting to place the referendum on the ballot at their Jan. 14 Board of Education Meeting. You can watch excerpts of their statements by clicking here.

The $89 million referendum will finance projects identified as top priorities by study groups, architectural experts, and the Master Plan Steering Committee. The Steering Committee was made up of community members with substantial architecture, construction, and finance experience. They oversaw the architect’s entire design phase providing feedback along the way.
 
The Steering Committee proposed projects estimated to cost $120.4 M. They tasked the District architecture firm Perkins + Will and the construction management firm Gilbane to reduce that cost through value engineering by approximately 5 percent totaling $6.4 M, which would lower the overall cost to $114 M.

The projects proposed include: $47.8 M in infrastructure work at DHS and HPHS (mechanical, plumbing, fire protection, electrical, lighting, technology, security, windows, ADA); $26.1 M for repurposing the 100 year old B building at HPHS
and reconstructing the 100 year old C and C Annex buildings at HPHS; $19.6 M for new pools at DHS and HPHS; $21.2 M for new multi-purpose gyms at DHS and HPHS; $3.8 M for renovation of the library and media center at DHS; $1.9 M for security enhancements at DHS and HPHS and ADA adaption of PE at DHS.

The Board has decided to commit $25 M from its current budgets to help finance these projects in addition to the $89 M referendum.

For more information on the referendum and it's projects head to District 113's website.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Walter White February 05, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Oh brother, I was more for it before I saw the video. Don't tell me what I OWE the district, Harvey. This is a serious decision and many things must be weighed by every taxpayer before voting. Not everyone is going to agree with you. You could have increased the chances of this passing by coming up with a more realistic number. If it doesn't pass you have only yourselves to blame.
Ken Robertson February 05, 2013 at 01:04 PM
The BOE unanimously approved a plan developed by over 100 of our neighbors, working over a thousand hours, for an 18-month period. The costs were developed with professional architects and construction managers. Every inch of the schools were reviewed to assess their needs, and develop options to fix long-term issues. Rather than "kick the can" and band-aid the problems, leading to ever-higher fix-it costs over the next decades, this plan addresses our needs now with a long-term view. It is the "realistic" number.
Walter White February 05, 2013 at 01:07 PM
It's nothing if it doesn't pass. Its nice that they got all the experts and number crunchers together. Who did the assessment of what level of pain the community can tolerate? Answer: nobody. So this one is a crapshoot. Just like the last one.
Ken Robertson February 05, 2013 at 01:40 PM
The B&I portion of your annual property taxes will actually be less than it has been on average for the last 10 years. Having updated schools and replacing outdated and obsolete mechanicals, etc will provide much more in return to your property value than the cost in taxes.
Walter White February 05, 2013 at 01:54 PM
I think that needs to be explored and stated much more clearly than it has. And, please, don't insult us with an analysis based on a $300,000 home. Give us some stats for other value points such as $500K and $800K. What will be the LINE ITEM taxes for these valuation starting next year and then into the future? Lay this out clearly and if it shows what you say, then it's a no-brainer to vote Yes. But given the shifty way in which the data has been presented to date, my guess is we are talking about a tax increase.
Walter White February 05, 2013 at 02:32 PM
OK, I'm going to make this painfully simple for the CLEAR people to answer. The narrative is that we will pay less than the average of the last 10 years. Here is the tax rate and tax paid for the last five. Tax Year, 113 Tax rate, Tax on a 300K home, Tax on a 900K home 2007, 1.567%, $1,567, $4,701 2008, 1.608%, $1,608, $4,824 2009, 1.694%, $1,694, $5,082 2010, 1.865%, $1,865, $5,595 2011, 2.102%, $2,105, $6,315 So a $300K home is paying $538 per year more in 2011 than it did in 2007. A $900K home is paying $1,614 more in 2011 than it did in 2007. My simple question is: what will be the tax rates for the next 5 years if the referendum is passed? Once old debt it paid off will we see a decrease? This is the crux of the matter, folks. You've done a great job laying out the physical improvements in detail. Now, please do the same for the financial impact. The sooner we get this answer the better.
Walter (Tripp) Hainsfurther February 05, 2013 at 02:35 PM
Walter: The Board did engage study groups made up of fellow citizens who helped determine what the tollerance they believed the community had for financing improvements. In the end, these groups, along with survey results, indicated it was about the need as opposed to the dollar amount. To answer your question about what you get for dollar amounts, if you look at the publically posted data, you can easily tell that. Don't do anything beyond infrastructure improvements and you are looking at about 45M (round numbers.) That still doesn't solve problems with things like 100 year old gyms that don't have running water in them, or kids at Deerfield having gym in the halls.
Walter White February 05, 2013 at 02:37 PM
That's fine. I'm not totally against higher taxes if they improve the schools. But at least let us know where we stand. Please let us know what the tax rates will be for the next several years.
Richard H Heineman Jr February 05, 2013 at 02:46 PM
The discussions are about the amount of taxes that go towards paying for Bonds principal and interest. That is what is impacted by the referendum. For a detailed presentation please go to the districts website. The information that you have requested is on pages 19 and 20 of this PowerPoint. http://www.dist113.org/Documents/Board%20of%20Education%20Presentation%201%2014%2013.pdf This information will be a part of all communication to the public
Walter White February 05, 2013 at 03:00 PM
OK so if I'm reading this right, in 2013 for a 600K home, I'd pay $358 for a 20 year bond, as opposed to $32 for no referendum. So the impact for that homeowner would be $326. And that would gradually reduce over time. Is that accurate?
Richard H Heineman Jr February 05, 2013 at 03:16 PM
The payment towards the Bonds and interest associated with the referendum would remain constant over the bond period. The around paid towards old bonds goes down over the period. I believe that this is $326 for the house assessed at $600K. Remember that it is not what you think your house is worth, it is what it is assessed for. I still think of my house as being worth $600K but the market and the assessor know that it is now worth $450K. Chesk your bill to see what your actual assessment is.
Walter White February 05, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Yes, of course. And the assessment changes every year, also. But it's good to look at a consistent number for evaluation purposes.
Ken Robertson February 05, 2013 at 03:48 PM
Not sure how we ended up discussing this across three different threads and articles! Here's more of the discussion if anyone is interested: http://highlandpark.patch.com/articles/d113-school-board-releases-video-explanation-of-april-referendum#comments

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