• Mon. Mar 20th, 2023

Unit 5 presents referendum case to nearby organization leaders


Mar 17, 2023

As the second vote on Unit 5’s referendum draws closer, superintendent Kristen Weikle presented the district’s status to the nearby organization neighborhood Thursday evening at Heartland Neighborhood College.

Held in cooperation with the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, the meeting also was an possibility to ask inquiries of Weikle and chief monetary officer Marty Hickman.

A lucrative referendum on April 4 would permit the district to pull itself out of a $12 million deficit hole, reinstate fairly a couple of cuts planned for the 2023-24 college year, and preserve the offerings now in place, say Unit 5 leaders.

But if voters reject the referendum a second time — as they did in November — Unit 5 warns of most important cuts, like shrinking personnel by a lot far more than 200 teachers, eliminating extracurriculars at schools, and cutting back on offerings such as P.E, music, art and a lot far more, for starters.

Even even though a handful of of the approximate 35 attendees at Thursday’s meeting spoke explicitly for or against the referendum, far a lot far more had been interested in details of the district’s monetary strategy.

Also present had been Unit 5 college board incumbent candidate Amy Roser and former state Rep. Dan Brady, who every stressed that enhanced outreach could make matters like the referendum easier to opt for in the future.

The notion that poor communication to the public sank the initial referendum has been echoed by Unit 5 officials across numerous meetings. In this case, Weikle offered it as an explanation for why the referendum language has not changed for the second vote.

Tom Carey, formerly a college board member in Lengthy Island, proposed an alternate lead to.

“I think I would be OK with it (the second referendum) if it came with some compromise, some amendment, to it. But rather, my cynical outlook on it is that it is taking advantage of the reality that fewer persons are going to vote, and for the purpose that that vote was pretty close back in November,” referring to the 53.7% of voters who rejected the referendum then.

Weikle maintained the district is asking only for what it demands to steer clear of an unpopular set of cuts that will take place in the subsequent year if the referendum fails after far more. In response to inquiries of debt, Weikle confirmed that if funding is not authorized, the district may possibly possibly be forced to borrow after far more to devote mandated charges, as it did in 2018.

In contrast, with a passed referendum the district says it will rapidly devote off outstanding debts and allocate a lot far more income to education, along with a cut down in all round house tax in the coming years.

Commerce Bank president J Phillips supports the referendum to steer clear of forcing the district back into borrowing.

“The reality of the circumstance is I feel the district will demand to borrow (if the referendum fails), which was confirmed with my query tonight,” he stated. “And with that, we’re going to see a lot far more of precisely exactly where we’ve been versus attempting to move forward. Why devote interest when we can genuinely devote for our kids’ future?”

Early voting is underway for the April 4 election.

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