Referendum Fact Sheets

Stephanie Stuart just released some fact sheets in regards to the Nov 8 facility referendum:

What projects are included in the referendum and how much do they cost? How do I calculate my tax impact if the referendum passes?

Find the answers to these questions and more by reviewing the attached fact sheets.

Find these fact sheets, the long-range facilities plan, and more at the District’s website: http://facilityplanning.champaignschools.org/


Referendum Fact Sheet

Tax Impact Fact Sheet

 

UPDATE:

Post at the U4BoardCorner – Kathy Richards explains a little more about where the district is at with presentation information and answers in regards to the referendum.

 

UPDATE 2:

The facilityplanning website has been updated with a lot of information (blog-style) – this is a good place to start reading:

http://facilityplanning.champaignschools.org

November 8 school facility referendum

According to the NG, the Nov 8th ballot will have wording for the school facility referendum as follows:

“Shall the Board of Education of Champaign Community Unit School District Number 4, Champaign County, Illinois, alter, repair and equip the Central High School Building, build and equip additions thereto, and acquire and improve the site thereof; improve facilities at Franklin Middle School, Spalding Park, and McKinley Field; alter, repair and equip the Centennial High School Building and build and equip additions thereto; demolish the existing Dr. Howard Elementary School Building and build and equip a new Dr. Howard Elementary School Building on that site; alter, repair and equip the South Side Elementary School Building and build and equip an addition thereto; alter, repair and equip the International Prep Academy Building and build and equip additions thereto; alter, repair and equip the Edison Middle School Building and build and equip an addition thereto; and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $183,400,000 for the purpose of paying costs thereof?”

 

It’s a mouthfull. So I wanted to take some time to break it down a little. If you strip out the details, the ballot question basically says “shall the Unit 4 BOE take out a loan (or several loans) not to exceed a sum total of $183.4 million?” The rest is “legally required” language that tells voters what this money will specifically be used for.

 

This grid groups and organizes the proposed changes as a way of visualizing the ballot question:

School Building Additions Site
Central alter, repair, equip build, equip acquire, improve
Centennial alter, repair, equip build, equip
Franklin improve*
Edison alter, repair, equip build, equip
Dr. Howard demolish, build, equip
South Side alter, repair, equip build, equip
IPA alter, repair, equip build, equip

*For Franklin, the School District is proposing to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the Park District to “share” facilities at Spalding Park. “Add and renovate track and athletic facilities for Central.”

 

I grouped the schools high schools first, then middle schools, then elementary schools. For me, I found this easier to chew on and digest (compare and contrast).

What exactly is being altered, repaired, equipped, built, acquired or improved? To start chipping away at that question, you can read the recommended “schemes” that came out of the Tier II committee, or read Nicole Lafond’s summary of the board’s final decision (and deliberation) in her August 15th article:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2016-08-15/updated-new-unit-4-price-tag-lowered-482-million.html

 

But to spell it out more clearly, here is how the $208.4 million breaks down.

UPDATED with information from the Fact Sheet.

School Work Total
Central -Exterior Upgrades
-Interior Renovations (75% of total square footage)
-Three Story Academic Addition (with CTE)
-Gymnasium Addition (3 courts and expandable to future fieldhouse/LOWER LEVEL lockers & support)
-PE Fields/Competition Soccer (turf)/Competition Softball (sod)
 $87.1M
Centennial -Exterior Upgrades
-Interior Renovations (75% of total square footage)
-Two Story Academic Addition
-Cafeteria/Administration Addition
-CTE spaces
-Gymnasium Addition (2 courts/expandable to future fieldhouse)
-Football Field (turf)
 $63.3M
Franklin fields, McKinley Field, Spalding Park -Competition Baseball (sod)
-Practice Baseball (sod)
-Additional Tennis Courts
-Dugouts/Concessions/Restrooms/Bleachers
 $9.8M
Dr. Howard -Demolition of Existing School
-Three Story Replacement School facility
 $16.1M
South Side -Exterior Upgrades
-Complete Renovation with Health Life Safety Upgrades
 $11.1M
IPA -Interior Renovations: general minor renovations
-Addition: Cafeteria expansion, Gym, Library
-Secure Entry: Renovate to provide secure school vestibule entry
 $6M
Grand Total  $208.4M

As stated several times, the Nov 8th referendum does not address all the needs of the district; it is expected that the district will have to return to the voters for another referendum somewhere down the road.

Some items that I have not been able to find (I will update this post as I find them):

  • A detailed breakdown of proposed projects for each school
  • A final prioritization of all projects (HLS, 10-year Capital Plan, Tier II recommendations)
  • Plans to pay for future maintenance (such a plan is talked about at board meetings, so I believe one exists)
  • A cross-reference of which HLS and 10-year Capital projects are not covered by this referendum

 

Resources:

 

Videos of Potential High School Construction Phasing

I happened to notice two new videos on the Unit 4 vimeo site (https://vimeo.com/champaignschools). After asking a couple questions, I learned that these two videos were played in a loop at the Central Town Hall meeting held last Thursday (June 23rd); they will most likely also be shown at the Centennial Town Hall meeting (July 14th). They have also been posted to the Tier Two Facility Planning website: http://facilityplanning.champaignschools.org/videos . And I am sure Kathy Richards will be blogging about them soon at u4boardcorner.blogspot.com (no pressure, Kathy *grin*).

 

So just in case anyone else wants to watch these two short, silent “what if” videos, here you go:

Potential Central Construction Phasing

Potential Centennial Construction Phasing

 

Another HS referendum option to consider

The details are not yet public, but according to the agenda published by Unit 4, it looks like the board is chewing on an another option for the voting public (and the newly formed Special Board Committee to Develop Facility Plan) to consider: refurbishing and expanding Central HS at its current location.

 

Please note that none of these details are set in stone by any means; they are just ideas, options for us all to consider. Board President Chris Kloeppel mentioned to me that he talked to several land owners in the area around Central, and to his surprise found that with only a few willing sellers, Unit 4 could easily expand the footprint of Central to the north, with cooperation and blessings from the City to close off Park Street and maybe even create a foot bridge over Church Street. This certainly opens up a number of ideas in regards to what can be done at the existing location, and keeps the Interstate Drive area essentially as a land-bank, or even possibly as one way to consolidate outdoor facilities for Central. Again, just ideas. Hopefully a map will be made available soon. And I expect Nicole Lafond and others will be getting a word in with Mr. Kloeppel as well. (UPDATE: Lafond’s article is now online: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2016-01-23/new-options-agenda.html)

 

I am lead to believe that the Board and Unit 4 administration have been approaching this carefully and ethically, talking to interested parties and addressing legal issues with the intent of making this option public at the Jan 25th Board meeting. As such, I believe that steps have been taken to legally secure an agreement with some of the various landowners in the suggested area. In fact, look at the Jan 25 agenda items:

D. Approval of Real Estate Purchase Contract – 711 Sherwood Terrace: Tom Lockman 

 

E. Approval of Real Estate Option Agreement – 603 W. Church Street, 606 W. Park Street, 201 N. Lynn Street, and 203 N. Lynn Street: Tom Lockman 

 

F. Approval of Real Estate Option Agreement – 605 W. Hill Street and 602 W. Church Street: Tom Lockman  

 

G. Approval of Real Estate Option Agreement – 500 W. Church Street and 606 W. Church Street: Tom Lockman   

 

In the end, the district has a strong desire to address the very serious and real needs of the physical buildings; the whole maintenance issue has been “kicked down the road” for far too long, and now the price of fixing buildings has snowballed. There is also an oft-repeated need for “capacity planning”, and we have frequently been told of the dire need to create more learning spaces as we are currently over capacity in our high schools, and quickly nearing capacity in other buildings. It seems like such an option is meant as a way to address all these concerns and make a future referendum more acceptable to voters.

 

One thing I hear others asking, which I would ask myself, is “what is the plan to make sure we don’t end up in this position again?” What are we going to do differently so that maintenance is not deferred to such an extreme in the future? It would be my expectation that the new special board facility committee will tackle that one.

 

UPDATE: According to twitter, Nicole’s article about this new option is on the front page of Saturday’s paper. It is not yet online.

Oct 19th BOE special meeting: Advisory questions #futurefacilities #taxref

Looks like the Board is planning to talk about Advisory questions on a future ballot:

The option of placing advisory questions on an upcoming election ballot to obtain feedback from voters on possible facility options will be discussed by the Board of Education.  Discussion will focus on what is legally allowed, format options, and the benefits and challenges of this approach.

Included is a document of dates listing when resolutions/ordinances have to pass in order to appear on a ballot:

http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/files/A3APBV51728C/$file/Future%20Election%20Deadlines.pdf

I believe the context for this discussion is the Big Talk about future facilities and how to fund capital expenditures in regards to a possible new high school and maintenance for other schools. I like the idea of advisory questions, and I hope that if they are utilized, they prove very informative. This also tells me that the board really is trying hard to figure out how to listen to the entire community. Ultimately, this is our tax dollars we are talking about, regardless of whether you have kids in the system or not; everyone should and does have something to say.

Aug 24th BOE meeting (with new “candid conversation”)

Just dashing off a quick post here, but last night’s meeting was certainly intersting. The News-Gazette’s Nicole Lafond has a couple articles, one from the meeting itself, one from others who were not able to make it:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-08-25/enrollment-increase-spurs-unit-4-facilities-talks.html

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-08-25/just-1-question-top-priority-unit-4.html

The district also posted a Vimeo video of the entire thing so you can watch it yourself, and I imagine the live-typing notes will be available in the very near future (probably already is online, just have to find it).

Lots was said, and there will be more. One thing that stuck out to me is that the board is going to try to host a moderated forum for Q&A with the community. They will start by asking that community members send email to u4boe@champaignschools.org, and they will then post those on a forum where they will respond. I imagine that will evolve – almost seems like it would be better to have a truly moderated forum and just bypass the email. But we will see.

More to come.

UPDATE: Live notes posted, via the new U4 Board Corner blog:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7NP1K1OYcJOTXhzTTA1blMwSHc/view