Mount Pulaski School District referendum proposal

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[August 08, 2018]  MOUNT PULASKI  - A group of volunteers, the Mount Pulaski Cusd23 Referendum18 Advocates, are a group of local citizens working to actively provide accurate information and transparency to the voting public about the upcoming referendum that will be highlighted on the March 20th ballot.

The goal of the building project and referendum is to improve the safety, security, efficiency and sustainability at the high school by replacing the existing 108-year-old building and remodeling portions of the remaining existing high school. The safety and health concerns within the existing high school include poor security of entrances, narrow corridors that present safety issues for students and staff, lack of a fire suppression system, and noncompliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Other building deficiencies, a result of the outdated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, include the high costs of ongoing maintenance and repairs, failure to meet current energy codes or fresh air requirements, limited amount of toilets, and lack of energy efficient fixtures. The construction would transform the high school into a more functional and robust learning environment for the Mount Pulaski student populace.


The goal of the school board is to decrease the financial impact of the building project on the community members and tax payers by seeking every opportunity to offset the project costs. Some opportunities for alleviating the impact to tax payers is through Resolution 2018-1 and windfarm property tax revenue (these are described in further detail as you continue reading).

The ballot will read:


PROPOSITION TO ISSUE $15,700,000 SCHOOL BUILDING BONDS

Shall the Board of Education of Mount Pulaski Community Unit School District, Number 23, Logan, Sangamon, Dewitt, Macon and Menard Counties, Illinois, build and equip additions to, alter, repair, equip and demolish a portion of the Mount Pulaski High School Building and improve the site thereof, alter, repair and equip the Mount Pulaski Grade School Building, and improve the athletic fields currently being leased to the District; and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $15,700,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof? YES or NO


The Advocacy group believes that the “school district and community will benefit from the addition of these facilities and that they will help to provide a safe atmosphere for our children to learn and prepare for life.” They encourage community members to “reach out to the group with any questions on the bond issuance that you may have.” They are working hard to spread the referendum message and to provide answers to all questions surrounding this topic.

Please see the detailed Building Proposal FAQ sheet below. Advocates have been reaching out to businesses and community members to provide them with the fact sheet and to answer any questions and/or concerns.

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If the referendum passes, the picture below is the potential timeline for design and construction. The preliminary work, for such things like design, development, and the bidding process will take nearly the rest of 2018. The projected construction start date is in the spring of 2019 and will continue into the summer of 2020. There will be mobile classrooms provided for a year that are already factored into the budget costs.

Advocates and school board members frequently get asked questions about how the proposed bond issuance works and how taxes will be affected? A bond is essentially a loan. The school will issue a twenty (20) year bond for said amount of dollars. It is then paid back over that time by means of taxes. Taxes are assessed on your home or farmland based off the county’s EAV. If the value of your property or EAV stays the same every year, taxes will only go up the amount of the bond issued and for that allotted time frame.

The Mount Pulaski School District has recently signed into effect Resolution 2018-1 on February 20, 2018. This resolution states that the school board will be utilizing the annual donation from Hilltopper Wind Power, LLC to offset capital project debt service and partially abate the corresponding tax levy. According to School Board President, Doug Martin, the school board “will use the donation strictly for the building project which will reduce the effect to the taxpayer”. Martin continues, “There will also be property tax revenue generated, thus reducing the net effect to the taxpayer”.

The School Board has spent endless hours contemplating and deriving the best plans to fix the issues that the school buildings are experiencing. The plan explained above is the most attainable for the sustainability of District 23. As mentioned previously, health and safety issues are being addressed along with ADA compliancy, plus much more.

[INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY RENEE MARTIN]

 

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