Summary: Our school district has a referendum question on the April 2, 2019 ballot to build a new 5-8th Grade School, and we want to make sure that accurate information is getting out to our parents and community members.
The bottom line: our enrollments have been growing for six years and Minooka Intermediate School and Minooka Junior High School now exceed their student capacity.
Since 2014, our District has seen a 13% increase in enrollment. Our schools have made small modifications each year to attempt to handle the growth, including closing labs and adapting classrooms to PE space. Adjustments to schedules at the upper levels have also mitigated the enrollment growth. At the start of the 2018-19 school year, Minooka Intermediate School had over 1,100 students and Minooka Junior High School had over 1,000 students.
New photos from October 2018 as Minooka Junior High Students navigate the overcrowded hallways during passing periods.
Site layout of proposed school on Seil Rd.
Pictures of high enrollments at Minooka Junior High – The screenshots below were taken from passing periods and a dismissal at Minooka Junior High School.
In March 2017 we publicized and formed a Facilities Advisory Committee that studied enrollments, projections, current facilities and options for dealing with the need for new space. After months of work, they recommended to the Board of Education that they build a new school for grades 5-8 to open by August 2019, along with additional elementary space. After the initial referendum in March 2018 failed to gain voter approval, the Board voted to revise the question to only include the 5-8th Grade School to address the existing and immediate need.
The total cost for the project is estimated at $50,000,000 based on detailed estimates provided by Gilbane Construction. This figure is higher than the previous estimate for the 5-8 school developed for the Facilities Advisory Committee, primarily due to much higher site costs that stem from the cost of utility improvements and a projected roadway that will need to be constructed to the east of the school. The updated estimate from August 2018 and the original esitmate from July 2018 are linked below.
The new 5-8 school, which would be a replica of the Minooka Intermediate School, would begin construction immediately after the passage of the referendum at our property on Seil Rd in Shorewood.
The basic question that most people want to know is how will this affect the taxes. The plan we have in place would structure this new debt as well as restructure portions of our existing debt so that we are targeting a stable tax rate for the life of the bonds, which means that our district tax rate should not increase. This would extend portions of our existing debt out another three years past their current term, but the tax bill should only go up or down if the property value went up or down. If our property growth continues at a rate of at least 5% per year (between 7-9% the last three years), then the tax rate for debt service would not have to increase. In summary – using conservative assumptions, the plan would allow for $50,000,000 in new school construction by phasing in the new bonds and restructuring some of our existing debt without raising the tax rate.
The documents below provide more detail on the process used to develop this plan and will help our community members stay informed of the facts. If you have any questions regarding the referendum, please contact Dr. Kristopher Monn, Superintendent of Schools, firstname.lastname@example.org
The attached recommendation that was presented and approved by the Board of Education from the Facilities Advisory Committee at the November 20, 2017 Board Meeting was developed over six months by a combined group of parents, staff and administration. It contains a great amount of detail regarding the process and information used by the Committee to craft this recommendation.
The is the initial Facilities Advisory Committee Meeting Presentation that was held on April 19, 2017. It contains details on our current facilities including the number of classrooms.
This is the Current and Proposed Housing Developments Report used by the Committee from the Spring of 2017. It lists all of the school districts subdivisions and student enrollment figures by grade levels. The list includes both finished subdivisions and subdivisions currently being developed. In areas still being developed, the remaining number of permits are shown with projected student yields. Note – enrollment projections were developed independently of this report. It was used to show where the most likely areas of future development would come from.
The last Enrollment projections were updated with the fall 2017 student counts. A drop in kindergarten enrollments have brought down our overall elementary projections over previous models. However, forecasting future years using kindergarten registrations similar to the previous trend will cause the projections to rise. New enrollment projections are being prepared using the enrollments from the start of the 2018-19 school year, but the date for the official enrollment for the year is October 15th.