At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 18, the Lemont High School District 210 Board of Education will hold a meeting and vote on a resolution to place a referendum question on the ballot this November. If approved by district taxpayers, this would increase the district’s debt service extension base to $5,000,000 each year.
For several months, the District 210 Board of Education has discussed a long-term plan to address the district's aging facilities.
Earlier this month, District 210 engaged with the community through a scientific phone survey. More than 500 individuals participated in this survey over a six-day period, and this community input was valuable. Along with some standard demographic questions, the survey asked participants' opinions concerning Lemont High School District 210; asked them to rate their support of several potential facility improvement projects; and asked them their opinions on potential methods of funding these projects.
On Monday, August 15, the Board of Education welcomed a consultant who provided a summary of the survey results during the Board's regularly scheduled meeting. This summary indicated strong community support of Lemont High School District 210, with 87 percent of respondents indicating an opinion that was "Very Favorable" (61 percent) or "Somewhat Favorable" (26 percent).
The potential projects described during the survey included improvements to classrooms, science labs, career work spaces, athletic facilities, and the school's cafeteria, among others. Seven of the ten projects described had at least 60 percent support from the survey participants, with some of the projects having support of 75 percent or better.
According to the survey results, 70 percent of the respondents were favorable to a debt service extension base increase. This was preferred over a traditional infrastructure bond referendum.
With the survey results indicating strong support for Lemont High School, as well as for many of the potential facility improvements on campus, the Board of Education has scheduled a meeting to vote on a resolution that would place a question on the November ballot.
The action taken at Thursday's meeting would be the first step in the process for the Board of Education. If the Board approves the resolution, a series of community informational activities will be established in order to educate the community on why the Board made the decision to place this referendum question on the ballot. District 210 would promote these events to ensure the community is well informed prior to the November election.
How this would affect District 210 taxpayers
If the debt service extension base referendum question were approved in November, District 210 taxpayers would see no increase to the bond and interest rate on their tax bills, and District 210 would have access to consistent funding in order to make necessary improvements on campus on an as-needed basis.
District 210 taxpayers approved infrastructure bond referenda in 1996 and 2006. The district will make the last payments on its outstanding bonds in 2028. Outside of those bonds approved by taxpayers, the district’s debt service extension base currently is limited to $249,604 each year, which does not provide sufficient funding for campus improvements.
Approving this referendum question would establish a maximum annual debt service extension base of $5,000,000, which is similar to the amount currently generated each year as District 210 pays off its outstanding bonds.