October 17th Chamber of Commerce email to Members

Champaign Unit 4 Referendum Information


The past few weeks the Champaign County Chamber has been disseminating information about the upcoming Unit 4 school referendum. On Monday, we will send out a survey seeking your feedback as a business person about the referendum. Please take the survey as this will assist the Chamber Board of Directors in best representing the membership on this issue. Below are new items regarding the Unit 4 referendum along with all of the information that we have already provided over the past few weeks. Please read these carefully and respond to the poll next week.

  • Champaign School District announced this week the course of action for updating elementary and middle schools throughout the district.
    • Build new Central High School (if referendum passes)
    • Remodel Centennial (if referendum passes)
    • Repurpose old Central in phases (if referendum passes)
    • Begin replacing Dr. Howard 2025-2026
    • Begin replacing/remodeling Edison, Franklin and Jefferson 2034-2035
    • Renovate South Side Elementary 2034 (after Dr. Howard)
  • In response to questions from our Coffee with the Superintendent event, Unit 4 provided the Chamber a copy of their 10-year Capital Improvement Plan.
    • 2014-2015 School Year: $419,124
    • Next 5 years: $5,634,810
      • Central $1,689,205 (assuming referendum passes and not students attending)
      • Centennial $855,800 (assuming referendum passes)
      • Bottenfield $6,500
      • Kenwood $151,000
      • Robeson $12,700
      • Westview $29,735
  • Next 5 years if referendum doesnot pass $5,634,810
    • Central $1,689,205
    • Centennial $855,800
    • Bottenfield $6,500
    • Kenwood $151,000
    • Robeson $12,700
    • Westview $29,735
  • Next 10 years

  • The table below shows the annual changes in property taxes paid to Champaign Unit 4 on a house in Savoy with an EAV of 74,990 in 2009.

  • The Table below shows the Tax rate from year to year.

  • The Illinois Policy Institute has taken a look at the effect of the one percent sales tax on property taxes in Champaign County.


  • A Traffic Impact Analysis performed by the Regional Planning Commission, the following transportation related items are necessary at the new site:
    • Neil street will need to be lengthened from Interstate Drive to Olympian Drive.
    • No new stop lights are needed, but stop signs will be added to two intersections.
    • Turn lanes will need to be added to the Neil Street/Interstate Drive intersections.
    • Additionally, sidewalks will need to be added to the Neil and Olympian portions near the school along with walk/don’t walk signals at the intersections of Prospect Avenue/Interstate Drive, Market Street/Olympian Drive and Prospect Avenue/Olympian Drive.
  • The following questions were recently asked by the Chamber to the school district; as of press time they remain unanswered:
    • What is the net dollar amount for building a new Central, remodeling Centennial and remodeling the current Central facility?
    • The RPC’s traffic impact analysis outlined street work, turn lanes, sidewalks etc. is that part of the $149 million?
    • Of the projected $190.8 million economic impact, is there any analysis or commitment to how much of the economic impact will be with local companies / local labor?

Previous information:

  • Based on financial information on the Promises Made Promises Keptcommittee’s website, the table below shows how funds from the one percent sales tax have been spent in Champaign. Fund 60 refers to the expenses directly related to the promises made during the campaign for a one percent sales tax. Fund 61 refers to expenses indirectly related to Fund 60 expenses or are items of deferred maintenance.

  • The table below shows how Champaign Schools compare to other schools based on information gathered from the News Gazette and the Normal School District.


  • Coffee With Superintendent Recap:
    • If the referendum passes, the property tax will increase from the current 4.3 per equalized assessed value (EAV) to 4.8 per EAV.
    • It will take approximately 20 to 25 years to pay off the referendum.
    • A recent proposal to the school board suggests turning the west wing of the current Central High School an entrepreneur center for students; and converting the east wing into administrative offices, adding an early education center, and possibly using as a student overflow space. There is currently no concrete funding plan to support this proposal.
    • If the referendum fails in November, voting results will be analyzed and a decision will be made based on direction of the school board.
  • Champaign Unit 4 school district is offering tours of Centennial and Central High Schools.



  • Champaign Unit 4 has posted the tax rates of other area school districts for the sake of comparison for the voters. With the passage of the one-cent sales tax referendum to fund school capital projects, there is an additional source of tax money available to the school districts in Champaign County. Below is a snap shot that includes an estimate amount of what Champaign Unit 4 residents have paid with the one-cent sales tax for a more complete picture of the taxes that support Champaign and Urbana schools. This was calculated using Champaign Unit 4 information and information from biggestuscities.com.

  • Assuming no tax discounts, a home with an equalized assed value of $70,000 (approx. $210,000 in market value) in Champaign would have paid $3,011 in property taxes plus an additional $198 in sales taxes totaling $3,209 paid to the Champaign School District.


  • Based on information from Champaign Unit 4 and the Champaign County Clerk’s website, industrial and commercial properties paid a total of $33,403,799 in property taxes last year. If the referendum passes, they will pay an additional $1,088,000.


  • Building new or renovating existing schools obviously cost money. However, construction projects also have an economic impact. According to a report by ImpactData Source out of Austin, Texas (commissioned by Unit 4), the economic impact on the local economy of a new Central High School and a renovated Centennial High School is:
    • $190.8 million economic impact;
    • Create an estimated 580 total jobs each year during construction;
    • Supporting $62.3 million in salaries for area construction workers and other workers;
    • Create an estimated $22.2 million in local taxable sales and spending;
    • And, generate $612,399 for the city and county.


  • Champaign Unit 4 states that the referendum will cost homeowners $140.09 per every $100,000 of assessed home value. The assessed home value is one third of the market value of a home. To find how your home assessment and how much the referendum will cost you, visit the Champaign County Assessor’s website.

One Response to “October 17th Chamber of Commerce email to Members”

  1. Pros and Cons, part 2 | Citizen4: A citizen's blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] meeting). But more impressive is that someone obviously did their homework and sent a rather comprehensive and detailed email to Chamber members on October 17th, including a link to a recent Oct 13 Illinois Policy Institute […]

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