• Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

Unit 5 presents referendum case to native enterprise leaders


Mar 17, 2023

Because the second vote on Unit 5’s referendum attracts nearer, superintendent Kristen Weikle offered the district’s standing to the native enterprise group Thursday evening at Heartland Neighborhood School.

Held in cooperation with the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, the assembly additionally was a chance to ask questions of Weikle and chief monetary officer Marty Hickman.

A profitable referendum on April 4 would permit the district to tug itself out of a $12 million deficit gap, reinstate many cuts deliberate for the 2023-24 college 12 months, and keep the choices now in place, say Unit 5 leaders.

But when voters reject the referendum a second time — as they did in November — Unit 5 warns of main cuts, together with shrinking workers by greater than 200 academics, eliminating extracurriculars at colleges, and reducing again on choices corresponding to P.E, music, artwork and extra, for starters.

Whereas just a few of the approximate 35 attendees at Thursday’s assembly spoke explicitly for or in opposition to the referendum, way more have been concerned about particulars of the district’s monetary technique.

Additionally current have been Unit 5 college board candidate Amy Roser and former state Rep. Dan Brady, who each careworn that higher outreach may make issues just like the referendum simpler to resolve sooner or later.

The concept poor communication to the general public sank the primary referendum has been echoed by Unit 5 officers throughout a number of conferences. On this case, Weikle supplied it as an evidence for why the referendum language has not modified for the second vote.

Tom Carey, previously a college board member in Lengthy Island, proposed an alternate motive.

“I feel I might be OK with it (the second referendum) if it got here with some compromise, some modification, to it. However reasonably, my cynical outlook on it’s that it’s benefiting from the truth that fewer persons are going to vote, and since that vote was comparatively shut again in November,” referring to the 53.7% of voters who rejected the referendum then.

Weikle maintained the district is asking just for what it must keep away from an unpopular set of cuts that can happen within the subsequent 12 months if the referendum fails once more. In response to questions of debt, Weikle confirmed that if funding will not be accepted, the district could also be compelled to borrow once more to pay mandated bills, because it did in 2018.

In distinction, with a handed referendum the district says it is going to quickly repay excellent money owed and allocate extra money to schooling, together with a lower in general property tax within the coming years.

Commerce Financial institution president J Phillips helps the referendum to keep away from forcing the district again into borrowing.

“The truth of the scenario is I consider the district might want to borrow (if the referendum fails), which was confirmed with my query tonight,” he mentioned. “And with that, we’re going to see extra of the place we’ve been versus making an attempt to maneuver ahead. Why pay curiosity once we can really pay for our youngsters’ future?”

Early voting is underway for the April 4 election.

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