Home / March 20, 2018 Referendum – $90,000,000 for two new schools

March 20, 2018 Referendum – $90,000,000 for two new schools
 

These pages will be updated frequently. Please check back for the most current information.

February 13, 2018 –

The presentation from the Referendum Information Meetings is attached below.

2018 Referendum Briefing

Pictures of high enrollments at Minooka Junior High – The screenshots below were taken from passing periods and a dismissal at Minooka Junior High School.

January 31, 2018 –

Dr. Monn will be making presentations on the referendum question at each of our schools over the next month, many in conjunction with the PTO meeting or other previously planned event. All are open to the public. The current schedule is:

February 5th, 5:00 PM – Feb 5th postponed due to weather. Rescheduled for February 12th at 5:00 PM – Aux Sable Elementary School PTO Meeting

February 8th, 6:00 PM – Feb 8th postponed due to weather. Rescheduled for February 22nd at 6:00 PM – Minooka Elementary School PTO Meeting

February 12th, 6:30 PM – Walnut Trails Elementary School PTO Meeting

February 13th, 6:00 PM – Minooka Intermediate / Minooka Junior High School PTO Meeting (at Minooka Intermediate)

February 27th, 6:30 PM – Jones Elementary School

March 5th, 6:30 PM – Town Hall Meeting (Minooka Intermediate School)

March 7th, 12:00 PM – Minooka Primary Center

Other dates are likely to get scheduled, so check back often for updates.

 

Summary: Our school district has a referendum question on the March 20, 2018 ballot to build two new schools and additions and renovations to existing schools, so we want to make sure that accurate information is getting out to our parents and community members.

The bottom line: our schools have been growing for five years and they now exceed or are projected to exceed their student capacity.

Since 2014, our District has seen a 12% 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. Minooka Intermediate School is currently over its intended capacity of 1,000 students, and Minooka Junior High School is projected to exceed its capacity by 2019-20.

Our elementary schools are within 2-4 years of reaching their capacity based on our best projections, but that includes using all available classroom space, including those currently used for special education and music/art.

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. They further recommended that the Board build a new elementary school and additions to Jones and Aux Sable. The Board accepted their recommendation in November 2017 and voted to place the question on the ballot in December.

The total cost for the projects is estimated at $90,000,000 based on detailed estimates provided by Gilbane Construction:

Gilbane 5-8 Building Estimate – July 24 2017

Gilbane EL Building Estimate July 24 2017

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 elementary school would begin a new design process and not begin construction until a subsequent year if elementary enrollments are projected to exceed capacity.

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 $90,000,000 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, kmonn@min201.org

2018 Referendum Frequently Asked Questions

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.

November 17, 2017 Facilities Recommendation to Board of Education

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.

April 19, 2017 Facilities Advisory Committee Meeting Presentation

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.

2017 – 2018 Subdivision Listing

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.

2017-2018 Enrollment Projections

This enrollment projection shows the change in elementary enrollments that would occur if our 2018-19 Kindergarten enrollments return to the upward trend it had seen in the previous three years. Such a change would increase the 2022-23 elementary projection by 144 and hasten the need for new classroom space at the elementary level.

 

The financing plan for the $90,000,000 includes phasing in the new building bonds along with restructuring portions of our existing debt with the goal of targeting a stable tax rate. This document shows our existing debt along with the planned new issues and restructured issues. The annual debt service payments are planned to increase as the property value increases from new growth, allowing the tax rate to stay in a very stable range. Assuming 5% growth per year in our property values, the tax rate would remain relatively flat and tax bills would only increase or decrease depending on the change in the property’s assessment.

Referendum and Refunding Plan

The Facilities Advisory Committee and the Board Finance Committee both evaluated our options for financing the $90M in school projects. The existing debt portfolio of the District is scheduled to elevate each year over the next 10 years, so both options for structuring the new proposed debt included restructuring portions of the existing debt. The two main choices the Committees evaluated were to target a level annual debt service payment, which would cause the tax rate to increase by about $0.42 in the first year, or to target a level annual tax rate, which would keep the tax rate stable and increase the amount of payments each year as property values and new construction increase the tax base. The attachment below shows the two plans considered by the Committees.

Minooka 201 $90M Referendum and Refunding Scenarios 112217